This Advent, my heart has been singing "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" like never before. There's a feeling of exasperation in the air. There's a sense of yearning, so palpable.
Between lingering reports about Michael Brown and Eric Garner, stories of shootings in my hometown, and a general level of mistrust and anger, I'm crying out, "How long, Lord, must we wait?"
This Advent, as I've contemplated our deep, utter need for Christ's return, I've found myself more emotional than usual. There's so much hurt. There's so much misunderstanding. There's so much disunity. There's so much needless violence. There's so much . . . wrong. It's given me a fresh perspective on our need for Jesus—not just me, but all of us. Our entire world.
It's easy for that realization of deep need to lead me to complacency, though. How in the world can we do anything that will cause real change here and now? It's tempting to resign myself until Christ returns and can wipe away every tear and right every wrong.
But God doesn't call us simply to wait. We are called to wait, to be sure. But we're also called to minister as we go. To disciple as we go. To serve and love and celebrate and help—as we go.
It's easy, however, to begin doubting how much of an impact we'll have in the waiting. There's only so much we can do. It kind of feels like being a single star, burning in a dense, dark night. No matter how brightly we burn, no one star lights up the night. There's simply too much darkness.
Then again, think about our sun. After all, the sun is just a single star. And yes, to other galaxies, the sun's light may only provide a tiny pinprick of light. But the sun's light sure makes a difference for us on earth. It certainly makes a difference for all the planets in our galaxy. It certainly makes a difference to the things closest to it.
Perhaps that's an example for us to follow. Yes, our love, service, and acts of justice may only offer a pinprick of light in the massive amounts of darkness around us. But those actions certainly make a difference to those closest to us.
As we wait, we don't wait in resignation. We wait in hope. We wait with marching orders to carry out in the meantime. We wait with important work to do—work that pokes holes in the darkness wherever we go.
And as our pinpricks of light combine, may we see the light slowly overcome the darkness.
Will you pray with me the third verse of O come, O come, Emmanuel?
O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.