December 17, 2018
Brett Stonecipher Divinity ’19
Isaiah 8:16 – 9:1 | Luke 22:39-53
The waiting of the advent season is not all pleasant, as today’s lectionary readings underscore. In them, we see Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane, betrayed by a man who claimed to be his friend; a man with whom he had shared his life. Our Christ, lover of our souls, betrayed by a kiss. And yet our Lord refuses a path of violence even in his anguish, healing a maimed soldier who has come under cover of darkness to bear Jesus to the kangaroo court that will mandate his crucifixion. He does not capitulate to the darkness, or retaliate according to its logic. Isaiah describes another darkness in the eighth chapter of his writings, one borne of anguish and fear in light of the disappointments of living. If you look inside yourself, I suspect you will admit that you are acquainted with it in some small way at least: they will look to the earth, but will see only distress and darkness. There is a darkness always at the edges of advent’s bright center— a knowledge that the Christ we wait upon entered once into a thick darkness; drew near to people broken upon the wheel of their own sin and unkindness and a planet broken thereby. Yet the truth about this darkness, friends, is that it has been changed by Christ’s coming. In the twinkling of an eye, it has become the very means by which we learn to wait on the Christ who is Light and Life. We learn to wait. Which is another way of saying that we learn to long for what is to come and for who is to come. Advent is a sweet season in many ways; the festivity, the little joys, the reminders that Christ sends to us in the scriptures and in one another. In a great transfiguration, even darknesses become such reminders — every sunrise a little advent, a small arrival. In this darkness become rest and peace, even amid our restlessness, the Lord whispers to us. Do you see? Soon I will arrive. Soon I will be with you.