By all measures it is probable we can all agree we want 2020 behind us… NOW. Why wait until December 31?
We’ve lost loved ones. The world has lost heroes. We’re fighting over masks to slow down a pandemic…
People are putting up Christmas lights and trees and flooding their lives with Christmas music and the Hallmark Christmas Channel.
We want this OVER!
I understand all the reasoning behind this. It’s not bad. It’s something I wouldn’t mind considering.
Then I come to my Daily Office reading and in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer 2019 they don’t have a specific breakout reading in the Daily Office for Advent, but they DO camp the reader in Isaiah for the duration. Isaiah is key for Advent Reading.
Over my years of ministry I walked through Advent more purposefully and now, as an Anglican, I try to focus in with more purpose. So, I made the mistake of blasting through Isaiah to get an overall view of the Book and then planned to walk back through more slowly in Advent.
It was a mistake because I was ground to a halt by the Holy Spirit in Isaiah 58-59 right around the election and am still there in the aftermath of the election as I watch not just the political scene but the residual effect in the culturalized church in America.
While I desperately want to put up lights and fight the attitude of Advent… it is my recommendation we not to that.
What is Advent? CLICK HERE to get a good overview from an Anglican perspective.
Culturalized Christianity is exposing itself in the wake of the election in even more blatant ways than I thought. I had prayed for repentance… and all we are seeing is the playing out of Isaiah 58-59. It is not good.
So justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us.
We look for light, but all is darkness;
for brightness, but we walk in deep shadows. (Isa. 59:9)
We are still in deep shadows. The culturalized Church in America has been exposed in all its weakness… and it is still groping along in blindness.
Like the blind we grope along the wall,
feeling our way like people without eyes.
At midday we stumble as if it were twilight;
among the strong, we are like the dead. (Isa. 59:10)
We are refusing to see the darkness within our practices. We are deaf to the voice of the Spirit. We have needed repentance and lament… and we are only doubling down on nationalistic pride and the last vestiges of political power. We are in trouble and fail to recognize it.
14 So justice is driven back,
and righteousness stands at a distance;
truth has stumbled in the streets,
honesty cannot enter.
15 Truth is nowhere to be found,
and whoever shuns evil becomes a prey. (Isa. 59:14-15)
While I desperately want to take the symbolic action of putting up lights and blasting Christmas music, I know we need to embrace Advent more than ever this season. It is to long for his coming again… and not in the “rapture ready” mentality of the “Left Behind” series. It is to long for his presence. Here. Now.
It is a longing for HIS LIGHT to shine in our darkness and the joy we will find in the power of his presence. He need him here. Now. In our darkness.
O come, Emmanuel.