ADVENT 2021: A TRUE HOPE
2021 has held its share of surprises and has dashed several people’s hopes. Whether hopes were placed on people’s ingenuity, science, timelines for restrictions, we’ve had to recalibrate those little hopes. In the midst of this, we open ourselves to the big hope that lies at the centre of reality. The hope that is found in the person of Jesus.
Advent itself can be translated as ‘arriving or coming.’ It is a season where we put special attention on the fact that Jesus is coming again. This is central to the Christian hope – we profess in the Nicene Creed, that Jesus “ascended to heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. His kingdom will never end.” It is this coming again that we anticipate, the day where all will be made right.
While certain traditions have reduced it to simply a time to bask in nativity stories, the tradition of Advent points beyond that. It is a time where we remember that things are not as they are supposed to be and that we are deeply reliant on God to set things right. It is a time of self-awareness as we look towards the sin that clutters our own lives, and we prepare the way of the LORD. As we enter into the Advent season, you are invited to consider with your household: How can we prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus this year?
During Advent we take time to cultivate anticipation for Jesus’ arrival, recognizing Jesus is the one true hope for this world. When the angels announced Jesus’ arrival, they proclaimed that it was news of great joy for all the people. We practice hope recognizing that the one who has come, will come again — a source of great joy for all who believe in him and long for the renewal of all things. We encourage you to take these practices (described in our Advent booklet) in your homes. These practices engage our senses which stands in contrast to much of our formation throughout the year in watching church through a screen. Additionally, it helps us to remember that 2000 years ago Jesus came in a real and tactile way. The Message famously translated John 1:14 as “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood.” God coming to dwell amongst us is something that calls us to celebrate wherever we are. The celebration is not limited to our churches but expanded into the neighbourhood and into our homes.