The Hope of Advent
“‘Comfort, give comfort to my people, says your God.”
[Note: Due to my schedule and early holiday bulletin deadlines, I am writing this Log a few days before Thanksgiving.]
As I write this my heart is experiencing the tug of war between hope and despair. This tension has become familiar over the last several months. For example, I read in the news about a promising vaccine and further down the page about the health and economic challenges of the coming winter. I look outside and see the sun shining, but I know the grey of winter will be coming. My heart and my mood vacillate between a cautious optimism and the depths of despair. For me, this is the mood of Advent.
Advent is always a season of waiting and of promise. It can handle this type of tension. Today’s second reading reminds me that “with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like one day” (2 Pt. 3:8). The journey we are on is a long one filled with tension. This is not a surprise. We can be patient and sit with the tension. But there is more than just stoic endurance for us this Advent.
The real good news that Advent brings is that this tension is leading us somewhere. We are people of hope because we are on a journey that has a destination. Several years ago, Pope Benedict reminded us that, “the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey” (Spe Salvi #1).
Advent reminds us that there is a goal and that it will justify the struggles and tensions we experience on the way. The Second Letter of Peter puts it this way, “According to His promise we await new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells” (2 Pt. 3:13).
This tension in my heart is an invitation to hope. The promise of God’s coming Kingdom is great enough, and his promise sure enough, that I will live this Advent filled with hope. The struggle is real, but the promise is sure.
May God bless you on your Advent journey.
Parish Pastoral Leader