O come, O come, Emmanuel, And ransom captive Israel, That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of God appear. Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel.
I love advent season, a four weeklong practice of reflection on waiting for the Saviour to come. As we read the Old Testament promises, sing Christmas Hymns, light candles, and maybe get a bar of chocolate or a special treat from an advent calendar. There is a longing mixed with joy as we know the baby Jesus’ triumphal arrival is just a few weeks away.
During this COVID season, I have been reminded that for much of the redemption story, we have waited in troubling times and through troubling signs, without the assurance of hindsight. From Abraham, Moses, David and the Prophets to Matthew is a long time. A time of distant hope during present suffering. For the church, the wait from ascension to the inauguration of the Kingdom has been 2000 years and counting. Waiting is the posture of the church.
COVID and its restrictions around work, travel, celebrations, family, and friends have been a good reminder that a large part of the Christian faith is faithful endurance while we wait for liberation. Even as cases rise and Christmas plans are adjusted, there is the hope of a vaccine and a return to a new normal, with less restriction in the new year. I am looking forward to a few hugs, some travels, and some wedding receptions missed during the COVID season. Even with so many deaths due to the virus, our hope in resurrection comforts us. Hope makes waiting tolerable.
This advent, I am reminded that I am still waiting, patiently enduring, doing the work of the Kingdom in the hope of the King’s imminent return. It is this hope that inspires our mission at UCM to students across the province, that although they live in darkness, they might see a light and be drawn to the King in the manger during this Christmas season. That is why our staff have been diligently working all fall despite the challenges of COVID to give hope to students in this difficult time. We hope you too will able to rejoice this season in the birth of the Saviour, the hope of his return and for a vaccine in the new year.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as warriors rejoice when dividing the plunder.