Scripture reference Luke 1:26-38.
Welcome to Advent 2015; today is the First Sunday of Advent. Advent, the time before Christmastide when we commemorate the waiting for the coming Christ. We sing carols and hymns like “O Come, Emmanuel” during this time. This is the time where we wait, wait for God’s Christ to come forth into the dark night of our collective soul and burst like the star that shone over Bethlehem on that ancient night.
I also see Advent as another “Now what?” time in our lives. Even though I’ve used this to describe Good Friday, it can also be used to describe Advent as well. Let’s go back to the pre-Jesus world; a world that was waiting for him…
We see tonight’s star of the story: Mary, the future mom of Jesus. Mary was a teenager who lived in Nazareth that was espoused/betrothed to Joseph. Well, one day Mary had a visitor named Gabriel-one of God’s chief angels. Now mind you, Mary didn’t offer the angel some iced tea and homemade pound cake; instead Mary had her “Oh shit!” moment when the angel appeared, since when angels appear stuff’s about to go down. Then after Mary found out that she was going to be carry and give birth to the future Jesus, impregnated without a man’s help, I bet you a good steak dinner in Manhattan Mary really had a “Now what?” moment. Mary later wound up in the unenviable position of being a single pregnant woman who has to bear the shame of not being married, or at best being impregnated by Joseph. You knew my girl had her “Now what?” moments while waiting for Jesus-the coming Christ-to be born.
Now, let’s travel forward to our time. Today there are many who still wait for the birthing of the coming Christ in their realities. Many of these people are living a “Now what?” moment:
- I just had to leave my war-torn country with my spouse and children, waiting for safe haven and now there are people who don’t want to give us asylum. Now what?
- Some crazed gunman opened fire upon an innocent group of people, and I lost loved ones among the victims. I am waiting for justice. Now what?
- Another person killed unjustly at the hands of a cop; and I knew them. I too am waiting for justice. Now what?
- I’m trying to keep a roof over my family’s head, heat and hot water on, and food in the pantry while waiting for financial relief, yet it’s taking forever. Now what?
- I’m waiting for peace and working for it. Now I hear nothing but war on the news. Now what?
- Like Mary, I too am a pregnant teenager. While waiting for my baby’s birth, I face a future of shame, dashed educational and career hopes, and God knows what else. Now what?
“Now what?” moments happen even while we wait for a desired end. These moments sadly don’t take a break while we wait. Even as we wait for the coming Christ to break forth in our lives, we still will have that “Now what?” moment. This is the time despite the “Now what?” moments, we must learn to wait. We must learn to wait on the coming Christ into our lives; for that birth to come forth and bring the light of God into our dark world. For once Christ is born into us, the “Now what?” moments will be answered, since the light of God will shine on them and make them plain to us….
…that what Advent’s all about….