Advent 1 Reflection
Welcoming Something New
Preached by Rev. Jessica McCrae
What would it mean for the words of Isaiah to come to life
What would it mean, in your life, in our world, for deserts to
bloom, weak hands to be strengthened, weak knees made
firm? What would it mean for the eyes of the blind to be
opened, for those who don’t hear, to hear?
What would it mean for communities who have gone so
long without, communities filled with violence, poverty, or lack
of opportunity to become places of hope? Places where the
skills and gifts of all are upheld? Where the value of every
person is recognized and honoured? Where children’s hearts
are filled with hope and energy for tomorrow and their bellies
and their minds are fed? What would it mean for joy to fill
every heart – for deserts, dry barren places of our hearts, our
world, to bloom with joy, colour, imagination and hope?
What would it mean if the aching parts of your body, your
mind, your heart were strengthened, soothed? If you knew that
the journey ahead was yours to make without worry about your
health, your stamina, your resolve. If the fear you harbour over
money, your future, your family’s future, this pandemic, any of
the numerous things we fear just … dissolved. What if someone
could just look you in the eye and say, “Be strong, do not fear.
All of this, all of this is going to be ok. We’re going to be ok.
You will be ok.” What if someone spoke those words of
reassurance to you and it was ok, you were ok, your fear was
gone, replaced with hope and joy?
What would it mean in our world if those who are blind to
the poverty and suffering of so many, were able to see, and
care, and respond? What would it mean for our world, for all of
us, if those who refuse to hear the cries of the oppressed and
the hurting opened their ears, and their minds and care, and
responded, and loved. What would it mean if those without a
voice in our world – oppressed young girls and women,
indigenous communities, those in long term care homes, those
with mental and physical challenges, the ones who have been
denied education, who make their home on the street, who toil
as slaves for an economy that never lets them get ahead, what
if they had reason to sing our with joy? What if light shone upon
them all and they were filled with such hope that this world was
going to become a just and equitable place for us all, that they
could not help but sing out with joy. What if that hope, that
certain knowledge that the world was changing in good and
positive ways flowed with the strength of water bursting the
banks of dried up streams, what if that hope, that positive
change was unstoppable?
What if that all happened?
What will it be like when it does?
Because this, all of this hope is coming to pass. All of this
hope is springing to life in this world.
What if you could believe this is true?
Where would you pray that it brought change?
Where do you need change?
What fear would you extinguish?
Why can’t it be true? Why can’t we work with God to
make it true?
In 6 beautiful verses the prophet Isaiah articulates the
hope that comes with this Advent season. The hope that the
coming of God will bring true change, that our lives and our
world will come in line with all that it is that God calls us to be.
And hearing these words during this pandemic time, when fear
is so strong and the inequalities in our society are so
pronounced, is like hearing them for the first time. Because we
are hungry for change, we are hungry for hope.
Advent is about remembering the excitement and
anticipation of God’s people when they first heard these words
of promise, and feeling it again today. It is about looking at our
own lives and identifying where we are in need of hope, of joy,
of a voice promising transformation and healing. It is about
seeing where chains can be loosened and hope can be born.
And it is about seeing our place in this unfolding narrative of
hope – seeing where we can make room for the love of God to
take root, where we can make changes, where we need to
rearrange the furniture, our ideas, our priorities, so that this
baby, this Christ child can grow in our lives, grow to bring
change, to shake the world, to shake our corner of the world,
so that every fear falls away and we can not help but sing.
It is about feeling this hope, this need and believing in its
power, believing that this world can be transformed with the
power of God. And it is about helping to make it so.
Advent is about welcoming something new. It is about
welcoming the baby who will be born, but it is also about
welcoming everything that baby is about, and everything that
baby will become.
It is about knowing God is with us.
And living like we believe it.
It is about welcoming hope, and new life, and radical change;
believing that this world can be different, and that we can,
with God’s energy and love, help to make it different.
It is about believing that these powerful prophesies are
coming to pass. Knowing that God wants to break into our
world, and is breaking into our world, bringing something new:
new ways of understanding our world
new ways of knowing God
new ways of being in relationship with each other
It is about a new tomorrow.
Are you ready to welcome it?
Are you ready to see yourself in the midst of this message
of hope being proclaimed?
Things can be different. Things will be different.
Let’s welcome these new things with hope.
Be strong. Do not fear. The one we have been waiting for
is coming. Amen.