The decorations are coming out as lights twinkle to choreographed routines of joy and cheer. And yet, around the world bombs are flying while eyes are glued to watch a world cup played in arenas mired by the deaths of thousands of workers. Anticipation is building to celebrate the season with warmth and cheer, but darkness is hanging thickly over our world. It all seems off-kilter. How can we hope and celebrate when darkness clings so closely? Should we cancel Christmas, unplug the lights, and become the Grinch? Or should we instead acknowledge that the moment we are in is the truest reflection of Advent?
The season of Advent invites us to the patient unfurling of God’s work in the world. We wait for the light to illuminate the darkness of the night, and watch for the coming dawn that breaks upon the horizon. And as we wait, we hear the echoes of those who have gone before us – they assure us that Jesus is coming. He came once as a child in a manger, and will one day come again. This is a reality that has the power to heal and restore. As hope wells up, his peace will wash over our tired and weary souls.