The specter of another pandemic wave looms over this year's holiday plans. Broadway shows are canceled. Family plans are postponed. Even football games are up in the air.
How long, O Lord? How long will we have to wait for a normal routine? When can we make plans without the if-there-isn't-too-much-COVID asterisk?
At first we knew that life would return to normal. Then we came to expect that life would eventually settle down. Maybe now we have resorted to hoping, or even praying.
This is the wait of the world right now.
For Christians, Advent is also the season of waiting. We recall the long wait of the Jews, longing for a Messiah. They watched and waited for one who would free them from Roman oppression. Jesus came, lived, died, and rose again. But there was no freedom from military occupation. There was no change in the corrupt, exploitative religious establishment.
But a movement was born. Christ followers experienced an inward change of heart, a spiritual renewal springing from faith in the risen Jesus. This movement spread quickly and unofficially. These believers would not bow to political or religious pressure. They believed that loving God and loving neighbors would change the world.
It has changed the world.
But we are still waiting for it to make all the difference in the world.