Readings: Isaiah 64: 1-9, Psalm 80: 1-7, 17-19, 1 Corinthians 1: 3-9, Mark 13: 24-37
Anticipation. Waiting. Longing. Hoping. Maybe. Maybe it could be different. Maybe it could be better. Maybe.
What is it we anticipate? What is it we are waiting for, what is it we are longing for, what is it we are hoping for? What is it that we want to be different? If it had to be different but in a very different way to the way we expected it to be, would it be better if it stayed the same? Do we only want things to be different if we are in control of the change so that it happens in exactly the way we would like it to happen?
Advent is a time of anticipation, a time of waiting, a time of longing, a time of “maybe it could be different”. We anticipate the presence of Christ with us even as we celebrate the fact that God is with us. We anticipate the possibility of a different future because we know how the first coming of Christ has made our present different. We know that things can be different because as God was faithful in the past, so God is faithful in the present and God will be faithful in the future.
So many who were waiting for the Messiah to come missed it when He came the first time because it happened in a way that they did not expect. So many who longed to be freed from their chains did not want to be set free from the chains they were being set free from. So many could not believe that God had worked because God did not work in the way they said He needs to work. They expected that God would fit into their expectations, without even considering that their expectations would be detrimental to the things God was doing and if not detrimental, they would at least severely limit the work God had come to do.
Our expectation is normally for a solution that will solve only one problem (our problem), even while it creates another problem that is more than likely a whole lot harder to overcome than our current one. They missed God because they couldn’t see how God was redeeming every problem perfectly at the same time. Our expectation may be for a vague solution to a complex problem and while God is faithful to that prayer, we may miss it because God is working at it, one specific answer after another.
Jesus reminds His disciples that He is faithful and even as they will be asking Him to return and restore the Kingdom, they need to continue being faithful to what He has called them to. When they do that, then they will see Him at work. Even while we are waiting for Christ to come again, we are urged to be faithful to our call. Our prayer is that things will be different and our faith is in the only One who can make it different and our hands are set to the work that the One who can make a difference has put them to. That is the difference that will be made. While we do what we are doing, Christ is working alongside us and the difference that is made is a difference that is beyond what we could ever anticipate or hope for.