Bishop Fairley’s Advent message reminds us of the “stubborn and audacious hope” we have in the one who is Emmanuel – God with us. As the Advent season begins, let us both be filled with that hope and carry that hope to a world that longs to hear it. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus.
Greetings, my brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, this Advent season, a season that is filled and pregnant with possibilities. And so, we cling with a stubborn and audacious hope to what God has promised, the return, the advent of Christ. Ours is an active watching, waiting, and preparing, pregnant with so many possibilities. Watching, waiting, preparing for the coming of Christ’s redemptive, restorative justice and salvation. We long for the advent of Christ with hopeful, joyful hearts – hearts filled with peaceful, agape, unconditional love, that is courageous enough to live in the mystery and tension of God’s beautiful purpose and will for all of creation, groaning for the fulfillment of God’s future with hope, a future, my friends, that is wrapped in the incarnational cry of a promised child shivering in the long night of winter’s discontent.
In the depth of our discontent, we hear the tender cry of a baby under the care of a mother who must know, somehow, that in his eyes shines God’s salvation for a fallen creation. In the birth of this son, salvation is not pronounced in the shout of the mighty but in the voice of a powerless girl courageous enough to say, “Let it be to me according to your word.” (Luke 1:38) The handmaiden of the Lord breaking out in a powerful, subversive song pregnant with forward-looking possibility, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:46-47)
And so friends, while it may be true that we are traveling through a liminal season, but for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, God knows where we’re going. We can trust God’s narrative in the coming of Christ once again in “the fullness of time.” Advent is a time for us to practice the “already but not yet” kind of waiting.
We trust the coming of Christ enough to place our feet, one foot at a time, in Jesus’ footprints, which always leads to the next faithful step. A faithful step toward love, peace, justice, and freedom from the bondage of sin and death.
“Our work,” Marilyn McEntyre reminds us, “is to say yes. And then say yes again, expectant and vigilant for the advent of what is even being prepared.” And so, my brothers and sisters, what gift of possibility is being prepared in Jesus’ prophetic words echoed in the synagogue, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19) In the coming of Christ may we hear once again, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)
Come again, Lord Jesus, and speak into our current darkness. Come again and stand amid our anxiety, our fear, and our uncertainty. Come and stand as God’s anointed, proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord’s favor being born among us. Lord, grant us new birth with your coming. So come, O come, Emmanuel. Blessings and peace in this Advent season.