The first Sunday of Advent begins with the visceral cry of the prophet Isaiah, “O that you would tear open the heavens and come down!” It feels like the world is at a breaking point, and there’s not much more we can take. Something needs to change. We are in desperate need of God’s salvation.
Each week in Advent, our prayer of the day begins by asking God to “stir up.” Stir up your power. Stir up our hearts. Stir up your people. And come.
The Advent journey brings us through four weeks of yearning for God to come, to be near to the earth, to bring God’s reign of justice and peace. Readings from the prophets and the gospels give glimpses of what God’s coming will mean: There will be signs in creation. There will be both harsh judgement and tender comfort. We must stay awake and be ready. We must not be afraid.
The arc of Advent ends with a surprise: After all this yearning, the story of the Annunciation reminds us exactly how God chooses to stir up God’s power and come: as a helpless infant, born to a lowly but courageous mother, in a marginal Jewish community in Palestine.
How are you feeling stirred up this Advent?
Where do you see God’s power at work in the world?
What do you need in order to be ready for Christ to come?