A reflection on the First Sunday in Advent, 2012

Welcome to the first KAIROS reflection  for Advent 2012! It’s written by Miriam Spies, a United Church candidate for ministry through Emmanuel College, and KAIROS’ community placement for 2012-13 through Emmanuel. This reflection accompanies KAIROS’ first-ever Advent resource, Seeking Shelter. Learn more on our Advent page or order the resource in print or as a PDF here.

We welcome your comments and if you have justice reflections on Advent 1, or the overall Advent journey, we’d love to post those, whether before or after December 2. Please join the conversation, whatever your tradition. You can email Julie Graham with your thoughts: jgraham@kairoscanada.org


A reflection on the First Sunday in Advent, 2012

By Miriam Spies

Scripture for December 3: Jeremiah 33:14-16; Luke 21:25-36

As we enter the season of Advent, we enter texts that disrupt our terminal niceness, our plans for shopping and partying, and bring us into a world that is shaking, unraveling, and yearning for renewal and change.

What does that look like? In this season, are we focusing on the future we make, and the answers we know, or on adventus, a different reality that is coming from ahead, that beckons us to join?

What are the signs of this change, this great shift into a different reality? The sea will roar, the heavens will shake. The Gospel of Luke tells of a great environmental upheaval, one that doesn’t sound all that far off from today’s news stories of floods, earthquakes, and droughts in the land. Ecologists have been sounding this wake-up call: all we have to do is keep doing what we are doing and we won’t have an earth to pass on to future generations.

Nations are in distress. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising. The effects of climate change – floods, homelessness, lack of food security – are damaging lives in the Global South. Ice is melting and homes for animals and people in our northern world are threatened. Oil and gas companies continue to extract fossil fuels while farmers, fishers, and Indigenous peoples watch their trades and cultures disappearing. The distress is unending.

Oil flare at a tailings pond for a wellsite, Ecuadorian Amazon. Copyright KAIROS

At times, working for justice, seeking right relationships with people and with creation, seems hopeless. We feel burned out and do not know where to begin. We close our eyes, cover our hearts, unwilling to hear more stories of pain and grief.

But these warnings, from Luke and from the cries of creation today, are not to produce guilt and deepen worry. Instead, they call us to envision a new world together. They call us to open our eyes, to let courage, love and passion flow from our souls. We must turn to a double vision. This means having the courage to see the world as it is and to name the need for truth, and the hope to see the world as it could be, to continue seeking transformation and renewal for the whole of creation.

Be on guard. Be alert. The kingdom is near. A different reality is coming from ahead. One that we cannot fashion and control. One that disrupts our economic and political structures. One that has a radically different way of life. On this first Sunday of Advent we are offered a wake-up call, a reminder that God is ever near, that the Christ child is coming, and with revolutionary change.

The prophet Jeremiah calls us to enter Advent with a sober yet restless and yearning spirit. We can offer words of hope in midst of fear and uncertainty, sharing God’s promise of a new world, one beginning with the birth of a vulnerable refugee baby, Jesus Christ. A branch will sprout. Light will break in. God’s promises are coming. This is what we live into as we wait with the hope of advent.

Ever-near God, continue to turn us toward light, nudge us to see a new world as we wait to welcome the promise of Christ into our hearts.

Worshippers sign on letter to the Prime Minister at an Earth Hour service at Holy Trinity Anglican Church in Toronto.


Filed in: Spirited Reflections


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