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December 12, 2014
“I’m in no mood for Advent, “ I thought, glimpsing the purple banner emblazoned with the candle of hope.
From Freetown to Ferguson, mothers are weeping over the bloody bodies of their children. From Ayotzinapa to New York City, fathers are crying out over the murder of their daughters and their sons. Children sob for their parents. Parents wail for their children. Widows and orphans are being created day by day by bloody day.
How can we speak now of hope, peace, love, and joy?
In those very days the Emperor Augustus commanded “all the world” to move according to his whim. And even poor and pregnant teenagers dared not defy the government order.
And . . .
King Herod made Rachel weep for all the children in and around Bethlehem, and she refused to be consoled because they were no more.
And . . .
Already the stage was set for Caiaphas the high priest to say that one might die for the sake of many.
And . . .
Pilate the governor to wash his hands and turn him over to be crucified.
In Advent we await the birth of a dark-skinned baby born in the midst of power-clutching, life-defying Empire; Empire built and sustained by military power, created and upheld by the belief of the righteous that some religions, some races mattered more than others.
In Advent we expect a boy born into streets in which soldiers acted with impunity never fearing indictment; government imprisoned or executed without question; and coopted religion refused to speak so that some mothers feared every time their children left their sight.
The very flesh of God came into this world, this world in which in which tender flesh is crushed, mothers’ hearts are broken, fathers’ spirits are destroyed, and children’s lives are shattered.
Ever and always God is born into this world, this broken and violent world.
And some, some few, some few barren, some few shepherds, some few elderly and righteous prophets look up and say, “Behold, God is with us.” They seek diligently and they find him, the one who scatters the proud, lifts the lowly, sends the rich away empty, and fills the hungry with good things.
And so I am in the mood for Advent.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.