For as long as I can remember, the entire concept of the Advent season has been focused on waiting. Waiting in all shapes and forms is promoted, but two key focuses are usually focused on. We are said to be waiting and anticipating Christ’s arrival through the reading of prophetic scripture or we are said to be awaiting His return by doing just about the same.
It seems that during the advent season, we forget that Christ is among us and relay the narrative that hope hasn’t quite come yet. It is like we read and take in all the hurt and pain going on around the world and, for a few weeks, we offer no true redemption from it. We only offer the idea that hope will soon arrive.
The Bible says the Word is eternal. The Word was with God for all eternity and the Word existed before it came into flesh. This means that Jesus existed before the creation of anything, through Him all was created, through Him and only Him can someone enter eternal life, and He will never cease to exist.
So the question must be asked: What are we waiting for?
Christ is here already. Any other time of the year we offer Christ as a hope and a mercy to others, yet in the Advent season, we simply say we are anticipating His arrival. It is as if, for a few short weeks, Christ disappears and arrives back on Christmas Day.
But where does He go during that gap if this is indeed true?
The reality is the focus on waiting is long past due for change. We see a world crumbling at the seams, cities seeking justice against injustice, governments taking advantage of situations and the poor, and war seems to be lurking around every corner waiting to break at any moment. Neighbors are killing neighbors, police are becoming more militant, and brothers are robbing one another. All hope seems lost.
But don’t worry, because Christ “is coming”. If we just “wait” a little longer, “Christ will soon arrive”. Sounds a bit wrong when you put it in context doesn’t it?
My challenge to you is to use Advent as a time to explore what hope, mercy, grace, and Truth are all about. Use the Advent season as a time to reflect on what it means to say Christ is here already and His Kingdom should be advanced on this earth. Reflect on what it means to accept Jesus Christ and how, at that moment, eternal life truly begins.
You see, we are constantly inheriting the fruits of the Spirit in our lives. We are to steward them and walk with humility and gratitude as we receive these gifts. Christ never stops being the mediator. Christ never stops witnessing to our very souls. Christ never stops comforting. The issue is we are told to be in waiting for what we can already experience right now.
A few years ago I wrote an Advent study on doubt. Not your typical Advent topic right? But think about this for a moment. All year long we tell people Christ is among us and at work in a world that seems like it is falling apart. Then in Advent, we talk about anticipating His arrival or His return. Seems a bit contradictory to me and certainly can plant the seeds of doubt when we are told any other time of the year that Christ is present in our lives.
It takes a certain dedication of faith to believe that Christ existed eternally, came down to earth in the flesh, and provided a sacrifice for our sins. It takes faith to believe He resurrected from the grave, ascended back to Heaven, and His Spirit is still both among us and in us.
We need to use Advent as a time to better address the faith we need to both believe these things and be bold witnesses to them. The idea that there is a pause for a focus on waiting is more of a roadblock than a guiding light.
Urgency necessitates action. Situations are desperate around the world and the world is longing for answers, assistance, hope, grace, and mercy. The world is longing for faith that all of this that is encountered is not for nothing. It is Christ who can calm the chaotic waves of society’s seas, but we must allow Him to be shared, shown, and presented as being ever present at all times throughout the year.
The Word is ongoing and ever present in our world. We must point to it, embrace it, and offer it as a counter narrative to the fallen nature of the world every chance we get. This is why the idea of waiting has no place in the church. We are not called to wait to act. We are not called to wait to comfort. We are not called to wait to lead. We are called to act, inspire, teach, lead, and comfort now. Hope has already come and already here. It is up to us to steward it.
We must present Christ as the Light that the darkness could never and will never overcome.
The world is longing for Christ. Not as the anticipated Savior, but as the Savior who is already here.