a time for courage

Advent is a time for courage. Beyond serene images of beautiful angels, lowing cattle, and an expectant mother, we are called to be aware of the darkness in us and around us. We are encouraged not to run from these realities by hiding our heads in the sand, but to be alert in the midst of it all. Advent is a time to be on guard, to be awake, to refuse to be so caught up in everything around us that we fail to recognize the nearness of Christ in that very place that feels desolate, confusing and beyond hope. It is a time to raise our heads and lift our eyes and watch for our redemption as it draws near.

“You keep us waiting.
You, the God of all time,
want us to wait for the right time in which to discover
who we are, where we must go,
who will be with us, and what we must do.
So thank you…for the waiting time.

You keep us looking.
You, the God of all space,
want us to look in the right and wrong places
for signs of hope,
for people who are hopeless,
for visions of a better world that will appear
among the disappointments of the world we know.
So thank you…for the looking time.

You keep us loving.
You, the God whose name is love,
Want us to be like you—
to love the lovely and the unlovely and the unlovable;
to love without jealousy or design or threat;
and, most difficult of all,
to love ourselves.
So thank you…for the loving time.

And in all this,
you keep us.
Through hard questions with no easy answers;
Through failing where we had hoped to succeed
and making impact where we felt we were useless;
through the patience and the dreams and the love of others;
and through Jesus Christ and his Spirit,
you keep us.
So thank you…for the keeping time,
and for now
and forever,
Amen.”*
*Iona Community Worship Book, 1988