Reflections on Advent
We have entered the Advent Season. In the spiritual cycle of the church we are at the point of wondering and waiting and anticipating the work of God in history. Our current Advent observances tend to emphasize waiting for the birth of the baby Jesus. As a family anticipates its newest member, so we hold our breath and still our busyness so as not to miss the arrival of the Christ child in our midst.
Earlier Advent observances of the church did not emphasize the baby Jesus, rather they emphasized the coming Kin-dom of Christ and its ability to transform both private lives and human history. There was an anticipation of being swept up in the new thing God was doing, the new history God promises and opens up to us.
It continues to be noted that humans are the summation of all their life choices. However, such a view of humanity includes with it the tyranny of the past which can never be outlived or transcended. Advent resists this understanding and reminds us that we can be shaped more powerfully by the open future of God. Our hope in God's promises can define us more fully than any choice we made, or was made for us, in the past.
Those who observe Advent enter it as resisters to the voice that whispers, "This is all you shall ever be" and each replies, "Ah, but God is not done with me yet."
David K. Popham Conference Minister