If you spend any time at all pondering this world, you’ll discover that it is not operating well. There is conflict, pollution, corruption, death, homelessness, and a blog’s worth of other troubles. The tension that Advent and Christmastime brings is that, while we contemplate the silence and longing for The Lord, we do see some light, even if it only flickers like a candle in the corner of a dark room. We sit in a tension of the good that we know is present even when we struggle to see it in the cold and dark of this season. We experience the boisterous holiday parties and merry making, but endure long dark days of cold. Light amidst the dark, joy amidst pain, noise breaking silence; this is what draws us into wonder at Advent.
It is in these times of tension, and maybe even contradiction, that leave us grasping for meaning and reason. It’s easy to become unmoored from a solid footing when all the good we happen to see eventually goes corrupt, withers away, or dies. All the things of this world will be found as finite and temporary. The light we try to see isn’t forever, no matter how hard we try to keep the flame alive.
The glory and mystery of Advent and Christmas is that we have a God that has entered this world in time and space, has gone through the dark and death of our world, and has defeated it. He brings with Him real and lasting light: the saving we needed, the restoration that would repair the world was planned for, calculated and executed by God who is called “Everlasting Father.” A father at his best, has a plan. A good father is one in whom you can trust, who knows you, has named you, has a plan for you, and does all things out of a love for you. In the good times and the bad, as children, we look to our father to assure us, to provide for us, to protect us.
Because our Father God loved His children so much, He carried out His plan to save us from the futility and darkness we experience by sending Himself through Jesus. He, in His perfect plan, sent us the most secure and most everlasting gift of all: His abiding presence and plan for our lives. He brings and establishes for us His Kingdom where we have life, place, and meaning for these dark days. We have a purpose that won’t fail, and we have a security kept with Him in Heaven. In the contradictions of this season of dark and light, may we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus – our true light who is the evidence and guarantee of our Father God and His plan for His beloved children. Hope in Him, and His perfect plan. His light never goes out. His strength never fails. Let us, with purpose this season, join our Savior in bringing His hope and His light into our dark world.
Lectionary Readings for the Third Sunday of Advent
The Book of Common Prayer Collect for the Third Sunday of Advent
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let thy bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and
the Holy Ghost, be honor and glory, world without end.