“Advent” means arrival, and in the life of the church Advent marks a very special arrival: that of the Christ child, born to a poor family in a rural backwater of the Roman Empire. But the fact that Jesus has already arrived is only half of the story—the “already” of Advent is balanced by a deep and resounding “not yet.” As we look at our lives, at the church, and at the world, we see evidence all around that God’s work is not yet done. And so Advent points us beyond the fact that Jesus has already arrived to a second arrival that we have not yet witnessed: that of the kingdom of God, the completion of God’s work in our lives and in the world.
(Not Yet) Fulfilled
Sunday, December 1, 2019
Advent is a time that we often look to the words of prophets in scripture and point to ways that these words have been fulfilled in Jesus. Not as often, though, do we point to the ways that these words still have yet to be fulfilled in the world.
(Not Yet) Whole
Sunday, December 8, 2019
John the Baptist arrives on the scene with a brazen call to repent and be baptized. There was fire in his tone and urgency in his voice. It is hard for us today to grasp that urgency, and very easy to ignore the need for true repentance. Advent can be a wake-up call for the church: a time to remember our need to repent, to be made whole, and to turn our hearts toward God’s coming kingdom.
(Not Yet) Enough
Sunday, December 15, 2019
Israel was waiting for so much more than a Messiah; they were awaiting God’s decisive action on their behalf. But when they assumed that God’s action would serve Israel’s narrow benefit, they failed to grasp the full scope of God’s work. When the church adopts a similarly narrow focus—assuming that God’s work in the world is (or should be) for the church’s good—we miss the expansiveness of God’s grace and the broad intention of God’s coming kingdom.
(Not Yet) Overcome
Sunday, December 22, 2019
This world is not perfect by any measure—it remains full of strife and pain and sin, in spite of the fact that Jesus has defeated the power of sin and death. So what gives? We find our answer to this question as we consider the means of Jesus’s arrival and the purpose for which he came.
(Not Yet) Here
Tuesday, December 24, 2019
The Christ child has arrived, Jesus is here. But Jesus is at the very same time not yet here. This puts us in a challenging in-between, living in darkness but aching for the light that we have glimpsed, the light that we know is coming. The good news of Christmas is more than an ancient arrival; it is a promise.