December 19, 2017
It happens every time. When I wake up after a long sleep, or when I come out of a dark room into the light, my eyes need time to adjust to the light. Initially, my vision is blurry and honestly, I consider retreating to the safety of the darkness so that perhaps I can enter the light again with more clarity.
So, I blink. And, I squint. Sometimes, I rub my eyes to give them more opportunity to be ready for the light. I want to see clearly what is before me. There is hope implicit in this small act of faith, for my vision returns, and I can move forward assured.
What if the work of Advent is the same? What if those of us, who live in the promise of Advent, are invited to use this time to prepare ourselves for the coming light?
The story of Jesus’ birth feels eerily modern and relevant—especially during this holy season. The groaning of the most vulnerable has never ceased, and at the time of Jesus’ birth, the government called from its diversity of occupied people to travel and pay taxes for the benefit of Rome. The gross entitlement of such a request was blatantly obscene in a time where oppressed people were forced to pay their taxes despite their poverty and lack of power. Mary and Joseph traveled to Bethlehem to fulfill their duty, which essentially filled the coffers of the Caesar who maintained popularity with the Roman elite by tilting resources toward them.
The birth of Mary’s child was imminent, and the travel was dangerous to the mother and her growing fetus; however, though medicine would say this science-based fact should have prevented their journey, the family moved on as the Spirit of God sustained them. They were rejected from an inn, displaced to the darkness of a barn, in the darkness of the night.
Then God said, “Let there be light,” creating hope and vision again in Jesus, our Immanuel. Jesus’ light pierces through the darkness even now, and with great confidence, I invite you to squint. Rub your eyes, if you must, for Advent has prepared us to accept that no matter how dire the circumstances appear, the Light has come. Adjust your vision with transformed eyes to see clearly before you that all is not lost, and that together, we can engage on the journey that God in Jesus sends us each Christmas.
Come, you holy and faithful ones, feminine and masculine, queer, transgendered and cisgendered, able-bodied and differently-abled, celebrating or grieving, of all ethnicities and cultures! The birth of a new world is nigh, despite what is evidence-based or what is beyond our control. Come, all you faithful, take heart, and see what can be. – Rev. Kelle Brown