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Veni, veni Emmanuel;
Captivum solve Israel,
Qui gemit in exilio,
Privatus Dei Filio.”
–“O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” Mannheim Steamroller
Advent (noun): a coming into place, view, or being; arrival.
And that is exactly what we do as the people of God. He has promised a savior, first to the nation of Israel, and, in the midst of 21st century interruptions, crises, clamoring, division, sadness, pain, hate, and dissent, we wait, and He comes, in God’s good time.
It is sobering to realize that generations before us have lived with that hope of the arrival of the Savior, but as Jesus tells us, we will know not the day nor the hour of our meeting with Him, but we will have signs. He used practical examples to instruct the disciples about end times:
Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its branches become tender and sprout leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you will know that He is near, right at the door.
As an analogy: We recently flew to see relatives. Neither of us had been on an airplane since fall 2019, so re-acclimating to the “wait” was instructive.
We arrived at the airport very early (it was one of the first flights out), so there were few around. A quick trip through TSA Pre, and we were at our gate in a nearly deserted part of the terminal. Then, as the time came for more flights, more and more people began moving through the regular TSA line. It was busy, it was noisy, it was a beehive of activity, filled with all sorts of travelers doing what was required to get to their departure point, onto their destination.
In a different way, it seems like our activities during Advent have some similarities.
Our human senses have difficulty discerning true signs from those which are words of false prophets. A lifetime of observing “signs” has made me, I hope, more discerning in deciding which message to follow. I know the temporal signs, the comfortable signs, the direction that can lead astray. They are the easy ones to follow.
Our Lord’s words and the signs he points to are much more difficult to accept. Yet, we can and we must accept them. They are part of the messages of His plan for us.
The challenging road always leads to the unexpected outcome, and, Lord willing, it is our four-Sunday journey which will prepare us well to welcome out Savior in His lowly setting. It will be worth the trip.
Marantha: Come, O Lord.
Image: Dennis HKG, Flickr