As unreal as it seems we have once again come to that time of year when we need to sit back, watch, wait, celebrate, and allow the good news of Christmas and the coming King to wash over us, renew us; in some cases to breathe life back into us.
It has been a hard year, the world seems to have gone a bit mad, or at least more mad than usual. Hate crimes and terror attacks, racism, fear, bullying, extreme weather, global catastrophes, deaths and suffering; it’s everywhere we turn. If you watch the news, read a newspaper, use any form of social media or in some cases, just look across the street, or hallway at school. Fear, hate, anger and ignorance have filled the air worldwide with a stench that permeates into our everyday lives and souls. It is ripe, like a disease it spreads and we can smell it on more and more people, ourselves included. It is so easy, to get sucked into the abyss of fear and anxiety, the very things that create the stink of hate and bigotry.
… and yet; this is a season of hope, and in hope there is no room for fear. This is a season of love and where is there love hate can not win. This is a season of awaiting for our King, a King who will unite us, a King who will save us, a king who comes to us all, with no political agenda, only to save us by grace alone; only to love us. A king who has already won us victory with his blood.
As we reach into this season, as we celebrate the joy, the peace, the light, the love, the hope. My prayer for us is that we be the joy; the joy to our neighbour who is alone or grieving. Be the joy for the lonely, the bright spot in their day, the smile of a stranger, the kind word and gentle touch, the compassionate hand that holds them up when they feel they are falling.
Be the peace, when you see the fear stirring up hate, when the verbal attacks online are full of offence. When the group of kids are picking on child of a different race, when the teen is so filled with anxiety that they can’t breathe, when it feels like everything around you is spinning and there is no safe place, reach out, be a voice of reason, be the calm and soothing arms that offer a safe place, be the person who sits beside someone and just counts to ten for them; be the peace.
Be the light, the light that lets the world see the good that still exists, the light that drowns out the darkness. When it feels like the clouds will forever storm, that there is only pain, suffering, hopelessness and despair and the sun is eternally eclipsed by the moon. Be the light, offer to guide, lead. Be the light that guides to the everlasting light where there can be no more darkness.
Be the love, the love that opens itself despite the risk, the love that moves people to change.The love that turns the other cheek, love that forgives, even when it’s hard. The love that opens itself up and bears the pain of another so that they can know they are not alone, the love that sacrifices our ourselves to give, the love that serves, the love that hurts and the love that drives away fear, hopelessness, despair, hate. The love that brings joy, and unity; compassion, the love that heals.
Be the hope, with hope comes faith, with hope comes healing, with hope fear subsides, with hope the anger that once burned starts to doubt. Hope drives out despair and allows peace, joy, love, light and faith to flourish in its glow.
In this hurting and broken city, country, world, we can shine brighter because it’s so dark. This is an opportunity to be more, to love more, to be the hands and feet of our Saviour, while we wait for his return. Advent is a season, but it’s not just the 4 Sundays prior to Christmas, it is the entire wait, every single day between now and His return; its not dependent on snow, Christmas lights, Santa, wreaths, fireplaces, hot chocolate, carols. It is us. It is now. It is every single day between this moment and the return of our King.