Most of us expect to be alive tomorrow. We expect the sun to rise and to set. We expect that there will be air to breathe and room for us to exist. Even though these are normal and very common expectations, God has not promised us any of them. We have not been promised another day of life, another sunrise and sunset, another breath of air or space to live.
The season of Advent is a time to remember exactly what God has in fact promised us. God has promised us peace. As the prophet Isaiah so beautifully says, “They shall beat their swords into plowshare and their spears into pruning hooks. One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again (Isaiah 2:1-5).” God has promised us a day of salvation when we are to put off all darkness and walk only with the armor of light (Romans 13:11-14). God has promised that Jesus who came as promised to save us from our sins, will come again in glory at a time that we least expect (Matthew 24:37-44). Even though God has made these marvelous promises, it may be harder to expect that they will be fulfilled than it is for us to expect that the sun will rise tomorrow.
Advent invites us to renew our belief in God’s promises that are sometimes the most difficult of all to believe. Advent can be a time to help us expect what is hardest to expect. We believe that Jesus has been born into the world in the past. If we did not, there would be no point in celebrating Christmas every year. We believe that Jesus will return in the future, as remote and distant as this may sometimes seem. Perhaps the time when we least expect Jesus is today, amid the events and circumstances of our lives.
We are busy and preoccupied. We are inundated daily with emails, text messages, Facebook postings, tweets and Instagrams. Our worries consume us, our jobs overwhelm us and our families make demands on us. So much of our attention is given to these things that it can be difficult to remember the promise that God has fulfilled which is the presence of his Son with us right here and now. Expect it!
Together in faith,
The Very Rev. Christopher Smith, Rector