The word “Advent” comes to us from two Latin words: ad, meaning “to”, and venire, meaning “come”. Advent, then, is a time of expectation, a time in which we look forward to the arrival of something, we await what is to come!
Advent begins on November 29th and it is the season where we contemplate the mystery of the Divine taking human flesh and dwelling among us. The benefit of 2000 years of hindsight allows us to know that Christmas is coming after Advent, so we can wait in joyful hope for the coming of Christ.
This year, however, Advent comes with a special set of “unknowns.” There is no denying that the year 2020 has changed the way we live. Some of us may have experienced a time of trial in our faith, or perhaps it has driven us to ask difficult questions about our faith. How can we be hopeful and “wait in joyful expectation” when so much has changed, and we see little light at the end of the tunnel?
We do not have the benefit of hindsight in this case because the pandemic is still inflicting disease on so many people. But like those who waited for a messiah for centuries, who persevered in their praying, and acts of love and kindness, we must continue to do our part to contain the virus and prevent further infection. As a church, and people of faith, we must persevere in our prayer and our own acts of love, consideration and kindness towards others. That is how we experience a celebration of Advent, we work collaboratively, we support one another, and we pray that we become the beacon of hope that we believe God calls us to be.
The road ahead will be much longer than this season. We are all in this together, and we all have a responsibility to do our part. Advent calls us to walk together; to bring comfort where there is suffering, to bring a ray of light where there is darkness, to join in the joyful hope of what is yet to come, not only the spiritual or physical future, but also hope for a renewed sense of communal living and consciousness.
Let us live Advent. Let us love and serve. Let us be a joyful hope!