“The stories of Advent are drug from the harsh soil of human struggle and the littered landscape of dashed dreams. They are told from the vista of where sin still reigns supreme and hope has gone on vacation. Many prefer the major notes of Joy and Gladness in the Christmas stories to the minor keys of Advent.” (Gary W. Charles)
Usually on the second week of Advent, the Lectionary has lessons on John the Baptizer. His message was one of repentance and preparation for the rule of God. Like I said last Sunday, Advent is a counter-cultural time in the church. Justice and righteousness are counter-cultural objectives. Justice and righteousness confront the powerful, the self-satisfied, and those that benefit from the order outside of the rule of God. This is not the same as many of the anarchists that fill our streets, the rule of God has qualities, objectives, and marks of it functioning.
John confronts those that come to him to receive the baptism of repentance by insisting that they show fruit that is consistent with repentance. Others, he confronts their hypocrisy that they are only interested in the show of their religion and not the abject repentance that marks true religion.
This leaves us with the bottom line of our hearts becoming hearts shaped by Advent. Hearts that humbly prepare the way of the Lord in each pathway of our lives. The bottom line of removing all show and pretense where we can only cry with the publican, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
The bottom line, the harsh reality or advent is one of being consistent with the rule of God over you. Where the foundational law or order of the rule of God is to love God with all your soul, mind, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. That is why I call our entire time
on this earth Advent Time. We are preparing, repenting, and loving least we miss the call of God’s rule.