Across the Pastor’s Desk: Find hope in waiting for Christ
Published 8:40 pm Thursday, December 13, 2018
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Joshua Blair
Well, we have made it to this year’s busy holiday season. Are you ready? Do you have the menu planned, the presents purchased and wrapped, the decorating done, the lights up? There is just so much going on in the Advent season. So much to prepare for and to get done, but what are you doing this season to slow down, to spend time with your family, friends and with God?
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Advent is the season in which we prepare for the coming of the birth of Jesus Christ, the light in the darkness, while also remembering that we are waiting for him to come again. Waiting, this is something that we don’t always do that well. To wait is hard, especially when you don’t know exactly when what you’re waiting for is going to happen. Sometimes you get to points where all of the waiting around can seem hopeless, where it can seem that what you are waiting for seems like it is never going to happen. I think that in our world today, we can all relate to this sentiment, this hopeless feeling. Every day we hear stories from all over the world of senseless violence and destruction. We hear stories of mass murder shootings, bombings, murders, devastating wildfires, mudslides, tornados, hurricanes, I can go on and on with the horrible things that we are seeing daily. These headlines and stories can certainly be enough to make anyone lose hope. They certainly lead people to question where God is and why God lets these things happen. Those things though, are all a part of the darkness and brokenness of the world that we live in. They are all things that serve no other purpose than for us, God’s beloved children, to question God’s love and care for us.
This darkness of our world isn’t the end of the story though. We remember this in Advent. We remember that light banishes the darkness, and we wait in hope for that light to come and fill our world. The birth of Jesus Christ was that light coming into the world. So we remember that our God is faithful. We remember that our God loves each of us so much that God came into the world in human form as a little infant to repair our brokenness, reconciling us to God and fulfill promises and prophesies from the Old Testament. The fact that God came to the earth as Jesus Christ, helps us to see that God is faithful to God’s promises. We have a God that keeps his word!
Jesus was born as a light in the darkness of the world. But Jesus died, descended to the dead and then ascended to heaven. We are promised that Jesus is going to come again. We are promised that God is going to create a new heaven and earth, with no more pain, suffering, sickness or tears. But, we have to wait. So, here we are, not so different from the people of biblical times that were waiting for the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. We wait, hoping and clinging to the promises of God. But none of this takes away from the reality that it is hard to keep hope with the condition of our world today. How do you keep hope in such darkness? The best answer I have found comes from Fred Rogers, of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood,” “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Church, in these times of darkness, we find hope by looking for and being the helpers. We find hope by loving our neighbors and letting our neighbors love us. We find hope by seeing other’s God-given light shine in the darkness and by letting our light shine in the same way. We find hope and we wait patiently for Jesus Christ.
Joshua Blair is vicar at First Lutheran Church in Glenville.