In this Advent Season, we are reminded that all of creation longs for things to be made right. Everything is not right and longs to be set right. The Apostle Paul writes to the church in Romans that “creation waits with eager longing… to be set free from its bondage to corruption,” and we know that this freedom will come when Christ comes again to redeem, not only his people, but the whole world (Romans 8:18-25).
This past year has revealed to us how broken we really are. Sin is entrenched deeper in our hearts than we imagined. The pandemic has revealed selfishness and self-preservation over the love of one’s neighbor. The moral and social evils that are interwoven with the structure of society are difficult to untwine and undo.
In Advent we dare plumb the depths of our depravity because we know our depravity is not the end.
In Advent we can name our evils without fear of being overwhelmed because we know our hope has already overcome the world.
In Advent we know that even if we despair, we have a God who can lift us up out of it. And we wait on him.
In Advent, we wait.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, drawing upon the practiced testimony of Israel and the proclamation of the prophets, articulated the message of the prophets in this way:
This is what the prophets discovered. History is a nightmare. There are more scandals, more acts of corruption, than are dreamed of in philosophy. It would be blasphemous to believe that what we witness is the end of God’s creation. It is an act of evil to accept the state of evil as either inevitable or final. Others may be satisfied with improvement, the prophets insist upon redemption.
– “History” from The Prophets by Abraham Joshua Heschel (emphasis mine)
All our efforts to redeemer our world have failed. Many times all seems lost. But God has not given up. There’s something good and true in our longing for a redeemer and in our conviction that evil is not the end.
The Gospel tells us that God has come — Emmanuel, God with us. Jesus is with us in our brokenness to the utmost even to a gruesome death on the cross. He knows our frame and remembers that we are dust. But out of this dust he will once again create life. And so we proclaim with all the church through the ages, “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”