Needing Advent

I need Advent.

I need Advent for a thousand reasons, a thousand stories of brokenness and hopelessness and fear.

I haven’t thought of Advent as something I “need” before. I’ve thought of it as something to practice — to practice patiently waiting, practice understanding the significance of a baby in a manger, carve space in the busyness of the season to reflect on God’s becoming man.

To “need” Advent? That hasn’t been as much on my radar.

But what do we search for when we’re stuck in darkness? Light. We desperately need light.

Christena Cleveland wrote in a recent blog post about advent and darkness:

Advent is an invitation to plunge into the deep, dark waters of our worst world, knowing that when we re-surface for air we will encounter the hopeful, hovering Spirit of God. For when we dive into the depths of our worst world, we reach a critical point at which our chocolate and pageants no longer satiate our longing for hope – and we are liberated by this realization. Indeed, the light of true hope is found in the midst of darkness.

I have seen darkness this year, and I know more deeply how much I need Advent.

I need Advent because Cambodia suffered a genocide and the perpetrators were not brought to justice and there isn’t a political system that values individual life.

I need Advent because Kenon died of cancer, after many years of fighting fearlessly.

I need Advent because Ferguson happened, because #blacklivesmatter, because racial injustice plagues my own country and the larger world.

I need Advent because a school was blown up in Pakistan and children were killed.

I need Advent because immigration reform has yet to be passed.

I need Advent because community partnerships were lost this year in a neighborhood I care deeply about.

We ache for his second coming, we ache for all these things to be made right. We ache for justice, for answers to hurt, for peace in the longing.

Come, Lord, come.

At Advent this year, I am thankful for a God who entered the darkness and brought light. The darkness has no power over the light — and in that I find peace.

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