02 December 2013

Transitioning into Advent

Last Sunday, Advent began. It is a time of looking forward to Jesus' coming, both his first coming at Christmas and his second coming. It is a time of longing for the goodness and rightness that is part of God's kingdom on earth. It is a time to see the injustices and imperfections found in this sinful world and know that with Christ's second coming, everything will be different. There will be no more death and sorrow, and there will also be no more poor, hungry, or lonely. Mary's song - the Magnificat - illustrates well how Christ's coming - both his first and his final coming - turns the world upside down.

When I describe it like this, I cannot help but ask why I am currently not more enthusiastic about Advent. Advent encourages us to tune our hearts more fully to the pain and suffering of the world, believing that Christ's coming makes a difference. Is this not the gospel at its core? How can I not be more excited about Advent then?

But somehow, my heart is distracted. Advent is about waiting and longing, and it feels like I have been waiting and longing for months already. And now, finally some of the wait seems over. The job I had applied for - the one that threatens to turn Matthijs and my life upside down (in a good way!)- is nearly finalized. The pain of my mother's death - a pain that is reflected in Advent's awareness of suffering and evils, such as cancer - feels like it is being overshadowed by the joy of moving closer to my family, a result of this new job. 

Perhaps Advent for me looks a bit different right now. It is less about waiting and more about becoming aware. About trying to be less distracted. About looking at the world around me and recognizing how much sin and evil have shaped the world so that it is not how it should be.
 I do not yet know how that will happen, but oftentimes it is through the asking of the question that one starts to find an answer.

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