28 December 2015

Advent and Christmas: Already and not yet

Advent is one of my favourite times of year, as it declares a truth that my heart knows: the world is full of darkness and sin. The kingdom of God is very much not yet present here, and we need the coming of Christ the King (For more about this, see my thoughts from Advent 2012: "Advent in the darkest time of the year)."

Advent this year brought with it much darkness. Shortly after Advent began, there was a mass shooting in San Bernardino. Within America, there were continued calls to prevent refugees from entering the country alongside of hatred towards Muslims. Amidst the darkness - a darkness where "across the country, Musims report that their mosques are being vandalized, that they are receiving death threats by the hour, and that women in head coverings are being harassed when they go out in public" - Rachel Held Evans spoke a prophetic word that we all need to speak up against "violent rhetoric against minorities." I found the events and rhetoric overwhelming, even as the response to Evans' words and a peace march held in Dearborn are signs of hope.

Christmas is a celebration of how, because of Christ's first coming, the kingdom of God is already here on earth. We celebrate that "Christ rules the world with truth and grace." The darkness, no matter how strong it might appear, is not winning and can not win.

As my heart resonates with Advent, it is not surprising that I find it hard at times to live into the triumphalism of Christmas. Fortunately, there are 12 days of Christmas, so my heart has some time to adjust. Hopefully spending more time with Mary's Magnificat will help, contemplating the King who "scatters the proud in the thoughts of their hearts, brings down the powerful from their thrones, lifts up the lowly, fills the hungry with good things, and sends the rich away empty."

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