Wait, Watch and Wonder
A dear saint from a previous congregation would only say 2/3 of the Eucharistic acclamation “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” It was the “Christ coming again” part that tripped her up. She explained it to me and many others this way: she felt she could not say something she didn’t believe. When my former parishioner spoke of believing, she meant knowing. And by knowing she meant verifiable empirical truth.
Enchanted with reason, we modern folks often equate truth with facts and knowing with certitude. Knowing, though, in the biblical sense, is the kind of knowing that comes from the good news passing through our ears, the splash of water on our bodies, oil anointed on our brows, the bread of heaven held in our hands, Christ’s blood of salvation pressed to our lips, prayerful hands laid on our heads, a handshake or embrace at the sharing of Christ’s peace, giving and receiving forgiveness, sharing your bread with the hungry poor, and meeting Jesus in the day-to-day adventure of loving neighbors.
When we say, “Christ will come again,” we shout it out with hope. We know it to be true without doomsday predictions or cleverly devised timetables (some of our relentless attempts at trying to maintain control). We proclaim this hope joyfully with the conviction that the future is in God’s good hands.
Advent begins with a focus on Christ’s coming again. The trajectory of Advent and the scripture used during this four-week season begins with a focus on the final coming of Christ, continues with a call to renewal and change as we walk with Christ among us, and only in the final days of Advent do we begin to focus on the coming of Christ in the child of Bethlehem.
Advent focuses on the fullness of God’s reign.
Don’t rush into Christmas. Save that for the festive twelve days beginning December 24th. Embrace Advent as the time we Christians set aside to watch, wait, and wonder at the coming of Christ now and in the future.
Proclaim with joy what you know: Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.