This season of the Church’s liturgical year is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. The word “advent” is an anglicized version of the Latin word adventus, “coming.” We are waiting for what is coming!
WAITING FOR GOOD NEWS
It will seem like all hell has broken loose . . . . and everyone all over the world [will be] in a panic, the wind knocked out of them by the threat of doom, the powers-that-be quaking (Luke 21:25-25; MSG).
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people (Luke 2:19; NIV)
Last week I was in my local supermarket early to complete the most onerous task of the week, buying groceries. My first job was to recycle a week’s worth of pop bottles. As I walked into the recycling area, my heart dropped. A line of people with huge plastic bags filled with bottles and cans had come even earlier – and three of the recycling “machines” were not working. While I waited, another one broke down. Finally there was one person with a VERY large bag ahead of me. I thought, “Surely she will offer to let me go ahead of her with my little bag of 14 cans.” But it was not to be.
That’s when I was reminded that waiting is a spiritual discipline, a real-life training ground for our with-God life. So I smiled at the lady ahead of me, extinguished the fires of anger against injustice, and settled in for the wait. After all, my impatience and grousing would not put more machines in operation or make the can and bottles slide any faster down the conveyor belt.
No one likes to wait, but Scripture reminds us that everyone must learn to wait. Women in the Bible waited to have children. The Hebrew people waited for liberation throughout their history. The Jews of Christ’s days waited to be freed from the heel of the Roman rule. The disciples waited for Pentecost – because that’s what Jesus told them to do. Paul waited in blindness for Ananias lay his hands on him and send him out to preach Jesus. And, of course, as all of those centuries went by, the people of God waited for their Messiah.
In 2015 we are also waiting – we are waiting for some good news. We hear about bombings, gun shots, suicide backpacks, planes destroyed in the air, the hacking of systems of all kinds. White police are murdering black young men. Political candidates are hysterically provoking fear about everything. Global warming, food shortages, robots taking over routine jobs, the death of bees . . . on and on the bad news multiplies. And as the Bible predicts, “everyone in the whole world is in a panic.
But we know that there is another answer. The good news came more than 2,000 years ago. God came to earth to dwell among his people and in their hearts. If we listen to Jesus and follow his ways, we, too, will learn to put our faith in the fact that God is control. We live in his unshakable kingdom and no matter what happens to us we are safe. Believe this good news, speak out against the fear, and live in the joy of Jesus’ coming.