Recently, I realized that this may perhaps be the most authentic Advent season that I can remember. What I mean is, Advent is not a season of light and celebration. That is the season of Christmas – which begins on December 25th, is celebrated for 12 days, and then is capped off on Epiphany, January 6th. By contrast, Advent is a season of darkness. To be sure, in Advent we hope, we longingly wait for the light to come. We even grow in our assurance that it will, but we do not celebrate its arrival because it’s not here yet.
Culturally, however, we begin celebrating the light – celebrating Christmas – as soon as Thanksgiving is over. By the time Christmas Day is actually here – by the time the light actually arrives – we’re done with it. Time to move on. But … this year feels different. Advent feels more like Advent. A time of waiting and longing for the light.
Our world is certainly suffering what we could refer to as a time of darkness. The total impact of Covid-19 has been devastating around the globe. And it’s not over yet. Just in our country, the 7-day running average is 1,520 daily deaths. We long for things to get better and have increasing hope that they will with vaccines likely being distributed in just a few days. It’s not time to celebrate victory over the virus just yet; there are still hard days ahead. But we are more assured than we have been in a long time that the light of restoration is coming. (By the way, I have been asked by several people if I will get vaccinated. My answer is simple: YES!)
Advent is during the darkest time of the year.
Since November 1st, we have lost almost an hour of daylight.
From now until December 21st we will lose another 10 minutes.
By December 25th, we will have 34 seconds more.
By Ash Wednesday, the days will have lengthened (the literal meaning of the word “Lent”) by almost an hour.
On Easter Sunday, April 4th, we will have added two additional hours.
Almost another 2 hours will be added by Pentecost, May 23rd.
The light of summer isn’t here yet, but it is coming! Of this, I am sure.
In the same way, we live in a world that is often accurately described as “in darkness.” And that is about much more than just a virus. However, as the people of God, as Advent people, we are sure that the light of Christ is coming. Indeed, it has already come in part, and we will celebrate that fact on Christmas Eve. But someday, we are sure of it, the light of Christ will shine in all its brightness. “There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:5).
Keep your eyes on Jesus!
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