14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.
2 Peter 3:14-15a
Hopeful and expectant Advent greetings my friends!
I have been having many thoughts on the season of Advent’s meaning in our current “season of life.”
Advent is traditionally a time when we are called to wait in hopeful expectation for the return of Christ! Christ’s return as the babe born in Bethlehem and perhaps even more importantly Christ’s return in glory to recreate the world!
Over 2,000 years of waiting for Christ’s glorious return has prompted most of us to lose perspective on the second part of this “waiting” and focus solely on the upcoming season of Christmas. However, in the book of 2 Peter we find an example of an early Christian church that was getting tired waiting for Christ’s glorious return. In fact, when 2 Peter is written the people were not annually celebrating the season of Christmas, they were all waiting for Christ’s glorious return to the world.
Peter offers some practical advice to this community of faith as they are participating in this time of “hopeful and expectant waiting” that I think can shed some light into our current world situation.
For the vast majority of 2020 we have been engaged in battle against Covid19. Regardless of how each of us may individually feel about this virus, the virus itself has absolutely altered our lives and the world around us. Now as scientists and medical professionals are nearing effective vaccines to slay this virus, we enter a season which leads us to Christmas and a season that is filled with traditions that many of us love and long for.
Many of us hold on to memories of “Christmas past!” We remember with longing hearts coming together as family and friends, the feasts that celebrate the day, the worships that are filled with Christmas carols, the sharing of gifts with one another and other traditions that bring meaning and focus to an individual’s understanding of Christmas.
While we continue to insist to anyone who will listen that we “hold on” to the true meaning of Christmas (the birth of the Christ child) our actions, behaviors, and longings for our own “traditional Christmas” betray us.
It would be easy for us to focus this year on what we are losing because of this virus. It would be easy for us to sulk and mourn over our desire to celebrate Christmas like there is no real threat. Yet, I would share, that perhaps this season of Advent and the coming season of Christmas could profoundly impact our understanding of our faith!
If our eyes and our minds are focused on the prohibitions of the 2020 Advent/Christmas season, we will miss the outpouring grace of God dwelling within our midst right here and right now. We will miss the way in which so many of our fellow disciples are lovingly and freely sharing gifts of hope with others. We will miss the young ladies in our community of faith who are collecting supplies for animals in shelters. We will miss the families involved in sending Christmas greetings to young women and men serving in our armed forces. We will miss the folks among us who are helping to feed the hungry in our community and helping to keep those who are homeless from sleeping on the cold ground. If we are focused on what we and our families will be denied this Advent and Christmas season we will miss the opportunity to tell one another the stories of the centuries of Christians who didn’t celebrate the day of Christmas with feasts and gifts and candles and lights, but rather with the simple recitation of the stories of the birth of Jesus.
In other words my friends, if our eyes and our minds are focused on the prohibitions of the 2020 Advent/Christmas season, we will miss the opportunity to sing praises to God for what God is doing among us in the world right now!
My hope and my prayer my friends are that we might take heed to Peter’s advice!
“14 And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.
15 And remember, our Lord’s patience gives people time to be saved.”
So, while we hopefully and expectantly wait for a return to what we consider “normal.” While we hopefully and expectantly wait for the return of Christ to make all things new. We live at peace knowing that God has accomplished all that is necessary for us to live eternally with our God and we open our eyes, our ears, our minds, and our hearts to bear witness to how our God comes among us this season of our lives and give the Lord thanks and praise!
Until next time
Keep trusting God, keep washing those hands, and be at peace; hopefully and expectantly!