Ah. I begin Advent again with boxes and branches strewn about my small living room. I just put in the last of what I call the Deadly Poultry Dishes in the dish washer and hope that I have done so prudently enough to keep the infinite number of possible turkey based bacterial death contaminates at bay… I guess we will see soon enough. I worked too many hours selling self described “magic” gadgets to strangers over the past two days and I feel harried and hurried and anxious and I feel certain if I sit down to finish writing this I will once again be late for Church. It appears that I am exactly where I should be to begin advent.
My kitchen’s unseen botulism, the already unruly pine needles near the tree, the pile of laundry near my broken washing machine all have me feeling not just as if things are a mess, but more so like things could very well get a lot worse easily and quickly. This is also how I feel about the world this morning, and I have been feeling this way for a few days. It is as if I can hear the certain rumblings underfoot that can only mean that a massive train, a hurricane or the beasts of the Jurassic world are surely on their way to get us… and I guess in some metaphorical sense this is true.
The world, in my opinion is ripe for Advent.
For Christians Advent is far from a mere time of family and nostalgia or longing for days past, which it can so readily slip into. Advent is rather a time in which we long instead for the future, a future in which the God who humbled himself to be come a lowly human will set things right and order the things of this world by the means of love and bring us peace. The reign that was announced by the angels by simply saying “Be Not Afraid”
The world, my kitchen, my heart, we are terrified and that is no way to live. Neither is it a good way to live to stick one’s head in the uncertain security of my wealth and privilege and hope this all just goes away. And that’s not what God wants to with with me this seasons as one could easily mistake among the ceaselessly banners declaring joy and peace which, to me, seem a cruelly ironic as they are full of wishful thinking.
Advent reminds me that there is indeed a rumbling underfoot, but it is not the train, nor storm nor apocalyptic reptile coming toward me… it is God, and I should not be afraid. Advent doesn’t declare when God will arrive (for isn’t God always arriving on earth through us?) But it does remind us that the general direction of God, the nature of God’s movement is toward us.
The right and only right response to me to such an underground rumbling is to get ready, to become ready.
For, as it happens, the means by which God intends to establish the rule of peace and love is not by nostalgia or wishful thinking or snowflakes on the sides of coffee cups, but the hard work of love and the life of concrete hope that is fashioned together in this here messy kitchen with this here messy life. God’s hope is born in us.
There is a rumbling and it means God is coming. For today it means God wants to come to this world, be born in this world through you like he was born into the world through Mary, the theotokos, the God-bringer. The rumbling is calling me, calling us, to be God bringers in this otherwise terrifying world full of botulism and terrorists, Black Friday sales and student loans, police shootings, make up counters, racism, department stores and guns. The world you live in is the world God is coming to… and wants to come to through you.
Is Jesus coming? Yes, and he has been for quite some time now. Prepare yourself. He is closer than you think. He is here in us now. Be not afraid.