a reflection shared with The Presbytery of New Hope e-News
“The days are surely coming…” A new church year begins with these five simple words from the prophet Jeremiah that open the first reading for this first Sunday of Advent. We enter this season knowing and expecting that “the days are surely coming”—busy days of Christmas preparation, full days of joyous celebration, wonder-full days of hope and promise. And yet this season reminds us that we have been waiting for the days to come for a long time. Generation after generation hungers for something more than even the joys of Christmas can bring us.
“The days are surely coming…” The Advent longing of this season speaks to some of the deepest feelings within us: uncertainty, fear, sadness, despair, grief, pain, sorrow. Making it through to the joy of Christmas can be a balm for our spirits, but too often our need for something new reaches far beyond what we can know in a single day of celebration. A deeper, more complete transformation eludes us and our world.
“The days are surely coming…” The hope and promise of Advent is more than confidence that we will survive the busyness of the holiday season, make it safely to our many travel destinations in these days, or even find new joy in Christmas this year. We journey beyond these things of this world in this season to wait, watch, and work for “the days that are surely coming” when transformation will take hold and the reign of Christ that we celebrated last Sunday will be visible in every place.
“The days are surely coming…”So amidst everything else that fills this season, I hope and pray that you will make a little time to be about this deeper work of preparation for the days that are surely coming. Maybe this is a moment to discover new space in your own journey for living out God’s faith, hope, and love. Maybe this is the time to talk with leaders around you about sketching a strategy to participate in God’s work more fully in the coming year. Maybe this is the season to slow down just enough to mark the calendar for some of the opportunities coming in the year ahead that are outlined below. Maybe this is an opportunity to pray even more fervently for openness to the days that are surely coming for our world and our church.
“The days are surely coming…”May today and every day ahead for you be filled with peace, love, joy, and hope, until this Christmas comes and until all things are made new in Jesus Christ.