It seems that I’ve spent this entire year bemoaning how quickly it is moving. Every time I feel I’m ready for the events of one month, it is already over. As we are swiftly moving through November into December, though, I’m beginning to think this may not be a bad thing. As a comedian I follow recently noted, this has been a pretty terrible year.
The comedian lamented the heartburn-inducing election cycle in the United States, the Zika scare, the Syrian crisis, Flint water crisis, violence by and against police, and the fact that David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Prince, and Muhammed Ali all died this year. With a year like that, it’s tempting to want to slip into December’s ubiquity of egg nog and carols and pretend none of this has happened.
But this is where the Church an be important voice for all. Not because Christmas brings holiday cheer and seasonal warm fuzzies, but because it is the story of God warning death that it’s days are numbered.
I recently came across an uncredited quote in some old notes that offered me hope: “Evil rages in this world not because it is powerful but because it is vulnerable.” In Christmas, God pierced the power of evil by entering into our world and at Easter he blew it apart. Because of Christ coming into our world, God’s revolution of new creation has begun, and evil has been weakening ever since. Because when people love one another, when they are transformed by hope and grace, evil cannot prosper. When societies become more stable, just, and healthy, evil struggles to find a foothold. Lives are continually being changed and made new by faith and baptism, and evil cannot—will not—win.
As Christians, we live in the now and the not yet. That is the message of Advent and Christmas, where we remember the waiting and celebration of Jesus made flesh in the past, but also waiting and celebrating for God’s Kingdom to be made complete in this world in the future. We live with the faith that Jesus’ death and resurrection have given us eternal life for today, but also faith in a future of perfection.
Evil may continue to rage and cause chaos and heartbreak as it has since time began, but we in the Church march onward through this year and the next because we trust that evil is vulnerable. Evil cannot win the day because Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ will come again. And so we continue to pray with the ancient church: “The Lord is coming. Come, Lord Jesus.”
From the Gray,
(Note: This post was first written for my church's winter newsletter.)
“Seasons don’t fear the reaper; nor do the sun, the wind or the rain. We can be like they are.” -Blue Oyster Cult, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”