by Tori Gilliland
Today is the second day of the second week of Advent. For those of you not counting, that means today marks 20 days until Christmas. Today is also just Monday, and Monday is something that comes every week.
Advent is not something that comes every week, however. No, Advent is a rare and annual season that asks us to look up and look out through the regular cycle of life and look into something sacred. Advent is a time for us to be shaped and molded by a pattern of expectation. Despite knowing this, we often find that our Advent sensibilities get lost in the sense that today is after all, just Monday.
For many of us, just-Monday is monotonous. Just-Monday is somehow both busy and empty. It's busy with the demands that work and the festive season place on us, and empty with the panging reminder that despite how many Christmas commercials for GMC trucks we see, we just aren't getting the picture-perfect Coca-Cola commercial season this year.
But I'd like to propose that just-Monday is in fact the perfect time to consider our Advent theme for this week - judgment. Judgment is often a word we try to shy away from, but our reading from church yesterday paints a different picture. The prophet Isaiah writes in chapter 10, verse 4, "But with righteousness, he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth."
Christ's birth is the very thing that enables us to face judgment with an overwhelming shimmer of hope. The hope that God fulfills his promises and sends his son to be with us on Christmas glows brighter than all the Christmas lights in River Oaks ever could. Christ becomes incarnate from the Virgin Mary and opens up a cosmic show of light that is brighter than any just-Monday darkness that creeps onto, into, and around us.
Bishop Josiah said in his sermon on Sunday that the prophet "Isaiah's message was that of Hope in the midst of despair." Hundreds of years before Jesus was born as a baby on Christmas, the people of Israel longed and hoped for the one that would bring an eternal hope. Bishop Josiah goes on to say that "most of what we hear today is nothing but doom and gloom," but we are to "watch out for the voice of Isaiah" as he speaks true hope into a situation of despair.
Our Advent texts, videos, and materials this week all center around the theme of judgment - but against the backdrop of Christ's birth it is always judgment clothed and washed in hope. We hope you'll step into this journey of hope with us this week, even if you are feeling like today is just Monday.
The Door invites you to spend ten minutes in meditation every Wednesday evening in Advent focused on how the anticipated coming of Christ is also a look back from his second coming. This weekly livestream will air live on The Door's YouTube channel at noon.