It is December and we are immersed in the tension that comes with our usual hopes and expectations around planning for Christmas. At the same time, we are dealing with the ongoing uncertainty that comes from living in a ‘Covid world’.
Maybe that’s why the season of Advent is such a blessing – it is our great opportunity to take a step outside what passes for normal in our mad world where we have convinced ourselves that we are in control. Now we are offered the chance to take time to be more comfortable with who we are as blessed, vulnerable creatures in a finite world who need to learn to live in the moment and to become aware again that God is in the moment.
The Scriptures can help us to do that. Today a beautiful poem is put before us that dares us to become people of hope. In this poem Jerusalem is addressed as a woman, distraught and traumatized, having experienced the ravages of war. However, she is called to see herself no longer as simply a survivor, a victim of all that has gone before. Rather, she is to look to the future with confidence knowing that she has not been forgotten. She is loved and matters to her God who seeks now “to guide her in joy by the light of his glory, with the mercy and saving justice that come from him.”
Our poet is not a fantasist, peddling religious escapism. S/he lives in the real world, if by that we mean the world of pain and suffering and loss. However, s/he also knows that the real world is more than that and knows that at our deepest core there is a God-shaped hole and that when we take time to stand in that sanctuary, we will find healing and hope.
Advent is all about that, going to that sanctuary and learning to trust again that God is Emmanuel, God with us, in us, and all around us!
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