Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Advent-are we there yet?

As a kid, the build up to Christmas seemed to last forever.

Of course, it doesn't help when the Sears catalogue shows up before school starts in September, the ads and store displays are out in October, Mother is cleaning and baking (and you aren't allowed to eat!), the Christmas tree is up, the yard is decorated, and still it's not Christmas.

Our Christmas carols start expressing the longing and waiting:
"I'm dreaming of a...
"It's beginning to look a lot like...
"In the air there's a feeling of....
"Soon it will be......

But it's still only December 23rd!

Sometimes it feels like Narnia where the white witch had made it always winter, but never Christmas.

In many ways we still are looking for something. Not just lights or presents. Not even some nice warm fuzzy feelings.
Deep inside we are longing for real peace on earth.
Where is the joy that is supposed to come to the world?

Our Christmas hymns mix longing and fulfillment, desire and consummation.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

How silently, how silently,
The wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His Heaven.
No ear may hear His coming;
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

So don't worry.
Soon the bells will ring, the angels will sing, and again we will rejoice that the Baby was born. And we will again have renewed hope that somehow, we will have Peace on Earth.
It may not come to the whole world in your lifetime or mine.
But it can come to my world through me, and to your world through you.

Truly He taught us To love one another;
His law is love And His gospel is peace.
Chains shall He break For the slave is our brother;
And in His name All oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy In grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us Praise His holy name.

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