“Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down!”Isaiah 63: 19
It is not easy to be patient and yet that is what we must do as we muddle through this transition from one president to the next, as we wait for senate election results in Georgia, as we wait for vaccines to arrive in our states. We want to skip over the waiting and get to the remedies for all that afflicts us. How convenient for us Christians that all this waiting should happen as we prepare to enter the season of Advent. Advent is all about waiting and yearning. We now have the opportunity to experience Advent thoroughly.
And so, we create our Advent wreaths knowing they will help us count down the days and weeks at least until Christmas. We will bless our wreaths and light the first candle of hope this coming Sunday, and remember that hope inspires us to expect that things will get better.
The season of Advent for us in the Northern Hemisphere brings us into the darkest time of the year. The darkest night is December 21st. The darkness of our days seems to match my emotions. It seems such a long time between now and the change I anticipate on January 20th. While the incoming president will not be our savior, at least he seems a good and decent man who cares. Many of us believe that things will get better under his leadership.
There is the sense that I am enduring the days, counting off each one, and that they are being counted off too slowly. It is hard to be patient when I wonder what could happen in these next days to undermine the coming year.
Just today I heard of the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist. Iran blames Israel, and our president is tweeting, showing support for the killing, while Iran swears vengeance. Due to experiences over the last three years we have reason to be concerned. Will our country be drawn into some rash action? These are dark days.
Medical professionals are warning us that the pandemic will get much worse before the vaccine is ready due to the holiday gatherings. There will be more deaths and others will get Covid 19 and recover, but have long lasting medical conditions to suffer. The rest of us have used up our share of resilience and fortitude and just want this plague to be behind us. These are dark days.
Advent is the time for honesty. We Christians allow ourselves to look around and see the darkness of our world as it is, which leads us to yearn and long for God’s kingdom — the Beloved Community — to come on earth. We re-read the promises of God, such as this one, “Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth: the things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create…” (Isaiah 65: 17-18) and we want God to hurry up and save us.
Waiting is hard and becomes harder when the days get darker, both seasonally and emotionally. So, let’s allow ourselves to anticipate some of the comforts of Christmas early this year. Go ahead and decorate early, sing Christmas carols, watch Hallmark movies, bake cookies, and do your other holiday traditions early. Let’s get through these dark days together, counting them off day by day. Let’s soften our waiting even while we are honest — things are not good, and we yearn for them to be better.
My beloved ones, it does help if we are all waiting together.