By Rev. Eliana Maxim, Associate EPA few years ago, at this same time of the year, I remember sitting at my desk trying to figure out challenging church stuff. No profound theological conundrum, tricky Hebrew or obfuscated polity issue ..... I had to finish casting the church’s Christmas pageant.
I had 4 shepherds who preferred to use their staffs as swords and were in deep danger of poking their eyes out or tripping an elderly congregant. Every little girl wanted to be an angel once they got a sight of the glittery winged costume. The inverse was that every boy detested the possibility of having to be an angel. The 3 year old dressed as the Star of Bethlehem wouldn’t keep his costume –or any of his clothing - on and the magi had revolted when they were denied staffs or any other long, pointed sticks. Worse of all, our baby Jesus was yet to be born. The expectant mother was past her due date and frankly, I was getting a little miffed.
As Advent Christians we wait for the promise to be fulfilled; we wait for the true light of the world to return. In the meantime, we have some who flock to the bright shiny distractions, others who seem more intent on battling than heeding their role in the waiting time and still others who insatiably seek out power and authority. And we wait. For Advent will not be rushed.
Advent Christians realize that we live in the now but not yet, and although our hearts achingly long for what will be, how we wait for the long expected Jesus marks our character and call.
Some will be denied the glitter because it needs to be shared among all, not just a select group. And some will need to learn to serve before they can be served themselves. And there will be those who will need someone to remind them often to stay focused and keep their clothes on.
But we do this because of our firm belief that although we may tell the Nativity story a million times, we hold our breath for Jesus’ return. Even though shepherds may battle it out, angels compete in their dazzle and wise ones get too big for their britches, all discord and confusion melts away when Emanuel is “born” anew. For the good news will not be denied. “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace!”
May this Advent season provide you the space and time to revel in the anticipation of the promise fulfilled. I also invite you to take a moment and register for the upcoming Presbyfest, when we will have the opportunity to come together to learn, worship and celebrate.