Saturday, December 23, 2017

Hope in Waiting

The Catholic Times' View from the Ark gives the readers a meditation on waiting by a seminary professor viewing the Advent wreath in front of the altar. Christmas is not far away and as he looks back over the past he doesn't see the good results of his efforts as much as the regret and self-reproach for the things not done.

Waiting is the language of hope but often hidden within is despair. The things for which he hopes often turn to despair. Khali Gibran in his book the Prophet has told us that happiness and sadness are often two sides of the same coin. When joyous, looking deep into our hearts we find that which gave us sorrow also gives us joy. When sorrowful we often weep for what was our delight.

Peace and freedom we desire is full of unfortunate contingencies, and we wait in the midst of anxiety and hope. It's because of hope that we can wait. But at the same time at the end of the waiting often comes frustrations, failures, discouragements which we have learned to expect. I might be afraid of losing my job, suddenly getting cancer, the approach of death. Poverty brought about by economic polarization, depression, loneliness by the breakup of families and human relations, talk of war, political corruption and dishonesty. These problems are with us this year as in the past.

Jesus came 2000 years ago but we don't have big changes. He lived here on earth and proclaimed Emanuel, God is with us. Jerusalem, the Holy Land, in conflict, a gunpowder storage house waiting to explode. But we still wait for Christmas.

We no longer hear the Christmas carols as we once did. Christmas is coldly manipulated as a time to consume but we wait for a warm Christmas. 

Christians don't  wait for gorgeous trees and decorated cribs but rather, despite the depressing situation of humankind, we believe that God will not forsake us. The suffering of the cross lives in our hearts as we wait for the  victory of Jesus when he comes again to proclaim the victory over sin and death.

The second coming of Jesus is not the fearful future of the apocalyptists but the hope we have of the kingdom here and now that we proclaim in the smile and touch of the small people of the earth who seek light in darkness, hope in despair and joy in sorrow. We hope to experience now the future joy of God's life.

We wait for a secure future with trepidation. Christians can't help but believe in the simple truth that darkness can not win over light; during this Advent it is the faith of the Christians to believe in waiting with hope.

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