Whilst stores have had Christmas paraphernalia since at least September, the Christian season of Advent [hoping, longing, expectation and waiting] begins as of 3rd December.
With the news of recent events of such horror, injustice, tragedy and grief there are abundant reasons for people to feel a sense of hopelessness. Such feelings can lead to people building figurative or literal walls as separation from the world around them. Some may feel justified to respond with retribution and vengeance.
The world has certainly changed. Some mourn the loss of ‘days gone by’ with memories of a ‘golden age’ when life was simpler and more ‘black and white’. At least this is how it is in their view.
The Scriptures we read from each week present a world and world view long passed. The Old and New Testament speak of a world where life was vastly different to ours in 2017/18. However, as we read we see that there was as much horror, injustice, tragedy and grief perpetrated not just by the so-called enemy but also by those who we might deem to be on the side of right. These are deep questions that confront us if we are honest and open in our reading of Scripture.
The reality is that life is a constant process of change; always has, always will be. As with the Old Testament people, with Jesus and his followers, we too will continue to be faced with troubling times, questions and choices. But as with the ancient peoples and beyond, we hear God’s promise of hope to us for our present and future.
Our hope is in Jesus Christ, whose coming we anticipate in the Advent season and celebrate at Christmas. ‘I bring you Good News!’ We hear yet again that God is ‘for us’ and ‘with us’ in the person of Jesus Christ who lived among us and who continues to live among us in Spirit.
In the midst of all the potential for hopelessness, hold on to the ‘hope we have in and through Christ’ by faith. Continue to love and serve others. Live in peace with God and neighbour. Live in the joy of God with us. Share that joy with your neighbour.
May you truly and deeply know the blessing of this Season throughout and into the new year of 2018.