Advent Week One: Mystery

Read: Jeremiah 33:14-16, Luke 1:26-38

The concept of time during Advent is truly as mystery. Time during Advent is not the kind that just marches on pulling us along day after day. Time during Advent is unpredictable and unsteady. It is not neat or orderly. It moves from what was, to what is, and to what will be in just a matter of seconds. As one writer puts it, “In this time-tumbling season, we look for a baby to be born while we know that the baby has already been born, and still being born in us – this Emmanuel who came and is coming and is among us right now.” But what the time of Advent does provide, in a steady yet challenging way every year when we need it the most, is a reminder of the mystery and certainty of God’s presence with us.

Jeremiah is the herald of Advent this year. He calls to his people and to us with the reminder that despite everything to the contrary, “days are coming,” when God’s promises will be fulfilled. Surely, the “days are coming” he says, when the redemptive and creative work of God will come to be made known and called “righteousness.” Yet alongside these words of profound hope about the future and of God’s nature, longing, is a tangible emotion in Jeremiah 33:14-16. Hope always comes with longing, and Advent is the reminder that we rarely get one without the other. The timing of this season calls us to see, remember and mark the truth that God came to be with us once, God is still with us now, and God will come again to set things right. Author, Sarah Bessey, says that, “Advent holds the truth of what is right now up to the truth of what was and what will be.”

Yes, in these days, there is room for hope and longing, there is reason to remember and mark time in a way that flows from future to past to present, and yes, in these days, there is cause to stop and take in the mystery and certainty of God’s presence with us.

God, may the mystery of your time and your presence be known to us this Advent season. Amen.

Louisa Ward, Campus Minister