What are you waiting for?
The prophets speaks of a messenger who will prepare for the coming of the Christ, a prophet who will deliver the people, make the way straight.
Like the rest of the church throughout the world we are waiting, because that is what Advent means-waiting/coming. It is a time of preparation, of waiting for Christ's coming. The preparation is a spiritual one. It’s a good time to be in church.
The story of the angel Gabriel coming to Zechariah speaks of preparation for such a deliverance through the birth of a baby, who will be a prophet. Someone who will begin to build the upside down kingdom and restore values to society. John the Baptist was someone who would be set aside to speak truth into a society that had lost its way. He would turn people back to God and restore families. Hope to the Hopeless! We desperately need such people.
How many of us have given up hope. Good news. We have stopped praying for miracles, for healing both physical and emotional, for healing of broken painful relationships, for change. How many of us face seemingly difficult and hopeless situations at this Advent time? Situations that perhaps only you know of, and yet the message of God to us is one of hope whatever our situation.
Hope comes to us in unexpected ways, when we least expect it, in a dream, or in a moment of inspiration, through a friend, or even someone we dislike. God uses surprising people as a vehicle of hope. We may feel the presence of God suddenly, feel peace and strength and realize that God is with us in all things and especially in the crisis we face.
There can be nothing better than to hear words of hope. An infertility broken. A diagnosis wrong. A wrong forgiven. A brokenness mended. New possibilities imagined. Hope of a better world, hope of peace between Muslim and Christian, in Syria, in Afghanistan, in Nigeria. Hope born of years in prison, or of a death for a dream. Of such things others maybe have much to teach us.
This Christmas there will be no hope in the noisy shopping rituals and the exchange of presents if there is not also a humbling, a waiting, a vulnerability, to Christ’s coming again, the perspective of God with us-Immanuel, can change us, forever, completely. For many of us we need to feel the brush of angels wings and the whisper of hope this Advent, this waiting time. Today this message challenges us to live lives according to gospel values rather than those of the consumer capitalism that surrounds us. God given hope is not optimism, or sentimentality, based on ignorance or naivite. It is based quite simply in a trust in God. The God who brings light into darkness. and speaks to us. Prepare the Way! For Christ is coming again. Will we hear him, will we see him, will we receive him this Christmastime?
The Christmas festival is symbolized by light, a light shining in darkness and the coming of hope. The story of the coming of Christ is a vehicle, a carrier of hope for us all to feed our spirits and our imaginations. We like the church throughout the world, are waiting for the coming Christ. The message of hope runs like a golden thread through the story of Gods people focused on the hope of the Messiah, the one who will come to deliver the people. We need to spiritually and then in word and deeds Prepare the Way.