We have many reasons this Advent to be discouraged. We wonder where as a people we have strayed from justice, love and humility. There is darkness in our nation that needs a sign of newness to encourage us to change. We are invited to trust that Jesus’ life and words are the way to live with freshness and spiritual integrity. Our spirits long for a clear insight into life. We want to emerge from our confusion and to welcome Jesus into our lives. We ask ourselves where we will find direction to guide us. The cry “Come” is repeated in the Advent liturgy again and again, insistent and hope-filled. “Come Emmanuel and set your people free…”
O Come. O Come, Emmanuel!
I will try not to let the busyness of this day deprive me of time to reflect on the real meaning of this celebration.
The Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.
O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people,
come set us free, Lord our God.
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.
Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit.
To call Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, Lord and Savior as the Christmas stories do, is a confession of commitment, allegiance, and loyalty. To do so means: I see in this person the anointed one of God, the decisive disclosure of God –of what can be seen of God in a human life, the fulfillment of Israel’s deepest yearnings , the one who reveals God’s dream for the world. This is what it means to call him Emmanuel and affirm that Emmanuel has come.
Marcus Borg, The First Christmas
The message of Christ is not Christianity. The message of Christ is Christ.
Every year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God. Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise.