During Advent, we wait. We wait for the coming of the Messiah, whose birth we remember and celebrate on Dec. 25th. Waiting can be hard.
Who of us at some point, didn’t beg to open “just one gift” early? Or have our children or grandchildren beg for this? Some of us are better than others at waiting. I was ready to start putting up Christmas decorations at the end of October, so you can guess how good I am at waiting.
Still, waiting can be a good thing. It is a good teacher. It teaches us patience. It teaches us anticipation. It teaches us hope.
It seems as if we are living in a time when a lot of people are looking for glimpses of hope, straining to see if there is something on the horizon, some good thing coming that will save us from ourselves. In the time of Jesus’ birth there was a longing to be delivered from the oppression of Roman rule. Today, we need to be delivered from an oppression of our own making.
People waited years, even centuries, for this hope to be realized just like we may be waiting today. Are there signs and glimpses of hope? Enter Jesus. Jesus came not in power, but as a powerless baby. His message was one of hope, justice, life, and peace. For all. He preached it. He did not force it; He simply lived it.
And it is God’s model for us. While Jesus preached a message of hope, justice, life and peace – He left the on-going task to us. We are asked to live into these ways of living and being.
As we wait in Advent for Christmas we don’t have to wait for everything; we can look and notice glimpses of hope and justice already happening around us and become multipliers of that.
When I see communities rallying around hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their homes and businesses to natural disasters – I see hope.
When I see one person organize a food bank to feed hundreds of hungry people – I see hope. When I see communities building “small houses” so the homeless have a place to come in from the cold - I see hope.
When I see children learning compassion and standing with a marginal child rather than bullying this child – I see hope.
When I see reports that science can now show that all humans can be genetically traced back to two people – and that Native Americans, Asians, people in the Middle East, Africa, South and Central American, my neighbors and the people in South Bend are all literally my sisters and brothers and perhaps it would be a good thing to actually treat them this way – I see hope. Any time justice prevails – I see hope.
When I see people doing things that are life-giving for themselves and others – I see hope. When I see people working at peace, asking “how can we make this work?” – I see hope.
It is only in this new way of living that we can be delivered from an oppression of our own making. It is only by being individual and collective agents of hope, justice, life and peace that we share the good news that God gave to us in Jesus.
As we live in Advent and wait for Christmas – may we remember why we celebrate Christmas, having our eyes opened to seeing the hope around us, and then anticipate ways we can be living into this ourselves. May our hope grow and multiply as we say with the angels “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” (Luke 2:14, KJV)
On behalf of Hudson Lake Mennonite Church – we wish you a blessed Advent season and Christmas Day. May the love and light of Christ shine upon you and guide you in 2019. May you be agents of hope, justice, life and peace.
Hudson Lake Mennonite Church is located at 7503 N. Walker Road, just north of Chicago Trail.