Elections!!! Many mindsets have been cast into turmoil, fear, anxiety, and a sense of foreboding.
We hear stories of immigrants, Muslims, people of color, and others living close to the edge who are afraid of losing health insurance, and who are afraid to look towards the future. People carry great fear for the environment, and the well-being of the earth itself, as well as international policies and relations.
And we move into Advent. Advent, with darkness, cold, quiet, and waiting.
When I was a child, and later when I raised my own children, I loved seeing the Advent candle wreath on our dinner table lit quietly at supper each night. We would light the same candle, followed by a second the next week, three the week following, and finally all four candles to light the center of the table. With the cold darkness outside, that circle of light drew me to it’s warmth, it’s hope, and it’s promise.
It symbolized the goodness that was promised. It wasn’t here yet. It never completely arrived. Even when the family was all together, someone always had some problems, but that light was always there.
That’s pretty much what the coming of Jesus has promised. We are together. We all want the best, and we don’t know if, when, or how it will come. The future might be scary. It can be cold and dark, and we don’t know what’s out there.
At the same time, we do know that we live with a promise. We know that we live with hope and with light. We know that the Spirit of God is alive throughout the world, and that it is always moving us, as a people, towards the light.
There is a reason that the Advent readings from Isaiah are full of promise, and a reason why the coming of Christ is so often referred to as a light breaking into the darkness. There is a reason why Jesus is called “The Prince of Peace.” It is not enough, that this is what is promised to us. This man, the bringer of light, the healer of hurts, the person who stands for justice and the little ones, this is the Christ that we follow.
The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Those who lived in a land of deep darkness-
On them, light has shined.
Isaiah 9: 2