We need a fuller version of Advent than the simple countdown to Christmas that (in the U.S.) begins as soon as Thanksgiving ends. We know that Advent is about more than our preparation. We know that Advent is about what God gifts to us: a savior who is Christ the Lord. During Advent, we look to Christ’s coming into the world – then in a Bethlehem stable; now, in Word and Sacrament; and in the time to come, when God will make all things new.
Yet Advent now requires courage. We must be willing to look at what we would rather deny: the brokenness of poverty, sickness, violence, greed, apathy, and fear in ourselves and in the world. Will we hear John the Baptist crying out into our wildernesses from the Advent readings: “Repent for the kingdom of heaven has come near. (Matthew 3:2)?
This excerpt is from “Advent is a Threshold” by Elizabeth Hunter in the December 2020 Gather magazine. Today is the First Sunday in Advent.
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