03 January 2015

Needing Advent

Happy 9th day of Christmas! Somehow this blog entry got stuck in publishing, so it's being posted here later than originally planned..

I have learned that Advent is a time to look forward to the coming of God's kingdom. As we remember Christ's coming to earth on the first Christmas, we also look forward to Christ's second coming.

Whereas lent is a time of looking inward at the personal sins that distance us from God, Advent is a time of looking outward at the world around us. Even though Christ's first coming ushered in the kingdom of God, the kingdom has not yet arrived, and the world is very much not how it should be.

I'm an idealist. This means not only that I myself want to be good and perfect, but I also desperately want the world to be the same. As the world is full of sin and evil, I can not help but be disappointed and saddened by so much in the world around me. It feels wrong to me that we, as a culture and church, tend to act so often as if everything is fine.

Advent, with its recognition of the brokenness of the world and its deep longing for Christ's coming to make all things new, feels like the most honest season to me. It is only through walking through Advent and being angry at the injustice in the world that I know how desperately we need the coming of Christ. It is only through lamenting the pain of death that I can honestly have joy and hope at Christmas. 

It is only through living through Advent that I can honestly sing the words of Joy to the World -"no more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make his blessings flow". The honesty and longing of Advent is what prepares me for the audacious hope of Christmas.

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