Here is the hope I keeping coming back to when I look at the world news and despair, or are tempted to, at how cruel and unloving we can be to each other; and when I look at myself and see how much and how deeply I fail as a disciple, and fail in love. God has made us to be like him; and in the fullness of time he sent us Jesus to show us what that means. So however dark the world gets, the possibility of life and love is always there; so however deeply I fail, the seeds of love are still there set within me. We love God because he first of all loved us; he has always loved us and he still loves us, however unlovable we may be.
Here are words from Desmond Tutu. They’ve become a creed, a prayer, and I think they've been set to music as a worship song, and for me they sum up the faith and the firm hope that is central to my keeping of Advent :-
Goodness is stronger than evil;
love is stronger than hate;
light is stronger than darkness;
life is stronger than death.
Victory is ours through him who loved us.
Victory is ours through him who loved us; Advent is about preparing ourselves for service and for judgement. We could look at the world and see so much that is frightening and evil and wrong that we just know there’s no point in even trying to serve, what difference could we make? But victory is already won; love is stronger than hate; victory is ours through him who loved us.
We could look at ourselves and know that the promised judgement can be nothing less than terrifying, because we have failed, and are justly condemned; our pathetic attempts at goodness are more than cancelled out by our sin, and our sins drag us down to the depths. But victory is already won, and forgiveness is already ours: light is stronger than darkness, love is stronger than hate; victory is ours through him who loved us.
I suppose that, as usual, I’ll be run ragged as this Christmas approaches, just like any other year. I’ll be last-minute like I always am, though I did manage to buy my Christmas cards (and a few sprouts!) the other day. But in all the rush and bustle of these weeks I shall make sure I set some time aside for the things Advent is really about, to draw closer to Christ, as he seeks always to draw closer to me . . . and I hope you’ll be making the time to do that too.