Our reading for Week 4 of Advent focused on the fifth verse of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”. We say we want to forget 2020 and move past all of it’s changes that made life so different, but there were beautiful lessons to be learned and a new vision to be gained on the time and place when all difficulties will be past.
Time usually seems to move too fast for us to keep up. The end of every day seems to rush toward us, deadlines loom too close, and important dates sneak up sooner than we expect.
But this year? Well, it’s 2020, and these difficult days seem to drag on and on. We long for these days to be over. For those of us waiting for Christ to return, how can we hope for the end of days when we can’t even see the end of this “unprecedented” season? In the carol “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” there’s a line that reads, “…the days are hastening on”. I think we would all like for 2020 to “hasten on.”
Interestingly, Advent is a time when we actually celebrate waiting. It seems odd to celebrate what we often find frustrating and tedious. As believers, though, we’re not just waiting. We’re waiting for.
We’re not just waiting for something bad to end; we’re waiting for something glorious to begin.
We’re waiting for Christ to come, this time as the uncontested King. His coming will not only eradicate viruses and disagreements, but he will destroy death and wipe every tear from our eyes.
God hasn’t simply been biding his time during this season of waiting, and neither have we. We’ve actually been rehearsing for that day. In the midst of this waiting, we continue to re-enact that prophetic song of peace on earth.
We confess that we were not excited about being asked to sing with our mouths covered. But we sang anyway. And in the process of meeting together, both online and in-person, we’ve seen more clearly that though masks may muffle joyful noises and distance spread our songs thin, even this cannot silence our worship. The perseverance to continue worshiping together in spite of obvious obstacles gives evidence of a hope that has become more apparent to us and to the world with each slowly passing day. Every week we sing like prophets foretelling the day when the whole world will finally do what it was created to do, to sing with one unified voice that “Jesus Christ is Lord!”
“Well, it’s 2020!” has been this year’s refrain, but we as believers are being shaped to sing a different song. Sooner than we think, the whole world will give back the song which now the angels—AND the saints—sing.