When thinking about these days leading up to Christmas, Advent as we call it, it’s very easy to see it all in our 21st-century eyes.
Red and green. Holly branches and red berries. Currier and Ives.
But in those ancient days of the first church, and even into those middle days of the Medieval church, Advent was a time where our spiritual lives mirrored the earth around us. Light was getting scarce and the hidden Gospel in the belly of Mary was felt to be hidden from the spiritual seeker, too.
God is supposed to be powerful. God is supposed to do anything. And yet in the darkness of the dwindling daylight it seemed to be that God was weak.
It’s no wonder that the Latin Rite has the presider of worship almost yelling on this day,
Consurge, consurge: induere fortitudinem, branchium Domini.
Or, as you and I read it, “Wake up, Lord! Rise up! Clothe yourself in strength!”
And how many times in our lives do we want to scream something similar as we are waiting for something to resolve itself, to turn, to become a blessing?
Yes; this is why Advent is important. It teaches us to wait. And, as the case may be, teaches us to yell at God when we need to.
But remember the rest of the story: God does show up in strength. But not the strength of an army, rather the strength of a baby’s lungs.
Which, you should know, are quite strong in their own way.
As St. Paul rightly notes, God’s strength is found in weakness.
This, from the beginning of the Jesus story, is how it has always been. And so on this day, the day before the event, the day when it seems like Christmas Eve will never come, we remind ourselves…and perhaps remind God…that God is the ruler.
Questions for reflection: What do you hate about waiting? What do you hate about weakness? What do you hate about when you feel God is weak? When have you felt God’s strength?