In Advent we anticipate God breaking into time. This is what our biblical faith teaches. Of course it goes against everything daily life seems to tell us. For we think it’s up to us to figure out how to run the world.
Christianity, assuming we pay attention, teaches us very different things. It offers a whole new perspective on human thought and action. It defies our expectations and offers a kind of upside-down logic.
For one, it insists that the unseen is greater than the seen. That alone ought to get our attention. It tells us that it is God alone who is the cure for that which ails us. It tells us that trust is at the core of human existence.
Trust, however, is far from easy – to state the obvious. For we live in a fallen, broken world where things tear away at our trust. People and things we hold dear leave us. Promises are not always kept. Disappointment and heartache touches every person’s life.
So, by default, we learn to accommodate. We learn to hedge our bets. We learn to become self-reliant for fear we cannot count on others.
The promise of Advent, however, is trust that God has broken into time. Here we are invited to remember God’s active, age-old promise to rescue us and save us. God has a plan for your life and mine.
The problem, of course, is rooted in our blinkered belief in this-worldly truths, in this-worldly facts, in this-worldly ways of seeing and doing. Lost is the power of the transcendent, a power that brings all things into being and of which this world is but a shadow. As if living under a perpetually cheerless, brooding December sky, we forget the sun beyond the clouds shines ever-brightly still.
Advent is a perfect time to disengage from our worldly obsessions and to notice the light God has sent (and still sends) into our otherwise obscurant world. Its light illumines a fresh, innocent world populated with angels and archangels, stars and mangers, awestruck shepherds and gift-bearing wise men, a world that touches the depths of the human soul.
In its luminosity we perceive new visions and a new calling. Like Jesus, we recognize our role as servants. It is the kind of service that does not seek reward, but seeks only to…well, serve.
It does not count the cost, does not seek control over those whom it serves, nor does it wish to be lauded or set apart. Rather, it is a servanthood premised on humility, and an awareness that to serve is in-and-of-itself life’s greatest blessing, and its greatest reward.
Grace and peace,
Thomas C. Leinbach, Pastor