Anticipation involves eagerly awaiting that which promises to be remarkable. The last few weeks have been filled with nail-biting anticipation as election results were being revealed. This year of Covid-19, economic uncertainty and racial tensions has been a rollercoaster we never signed up to ride. Many of us are looking with anticipation to a new year, desperate to put 2020 in the rearview mirror. 

Over the next few weeks, Christian churches all over the world will enter the Advent Season. Advent, also a time of anticipation, allows us to consider three things. First, we consider the anticipation of the birth of a child, a feeling to which many parents can relate. However, this child was also eagerly awaited by a handful of people who understood and believed the words of the prophets. For them, Jesus represented the fulfillment of God’s promise. For us, Jesus represents the light in the darkness, God’s affinity with the poor and suffering, and the end of the separation between humankind and God. Second, Advent celebrates a living God concerned with our day to day endeavors – a parent/protector, friend, and comforter. Jesus Christ in the now symbolizes an openness of love, faith and joy; and an urgency to be God’s only hands – seeking out and caring for those in need. And finally, Advent anticipates Jesus’s return, a time of peace and justice, when all pain and suffering are in the rearview mirror. 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we will all have to celebrate Advent, Christmas, and perhaps even Easter remotely. However, with this crisis comes the opportunity for more people to participate in worship services –creating unforeseen possibility for new connections. If you are “unchurched” – one of millions of American Christians who do not regularly attend church services – you can participate online during Advent this year as a way to feel connected (or reconnected) to a community. All of us can use this time as an excuse to be less rigid about the meaning of Advent and embrace this spirit of anticipation! Ask yourself, “What makes me feel hopeful?”, “Can I clear what I don’t need – namely, regret, fear and an unforgiving spirit – from my heart?”; and, “How can I bring a little light into the lives of others?” 

As the days get shorter and the weather colder, we will spend more energy managing the darkness. Driving around, I draw inspiration from the Christmas lights that brighten our city. Jesus is the light that cannot be vanquished by darkness. Spend time anticipating the hope and promise, love, and light in the world during this Advent Season. 

Image by Jeniffer, Wai Ting Tan from Pixabay

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Be safe out there! – GA

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