Second Sunday of Advent, December 6, 2020
But the day of the Lord will come like a thief,
and then the heavens will pass away with a mighty roar
and the elements will be dissolved by fire,
and the earth and everything done on it will be found out. – Peter 3:10
The tracking numbers, the phone calls with the post office, emails with the seller. It did not seem possible, but it is official now. Someone has stolen our Advent.
More precisely, someone stole the awesome, now sold-out Advent kit I ordered. This kit was going to make our Advent…. So we could really immerse ourselves in the activities, prepare our children for the season when little else they expect is happening. But instead, Advent was stolen.
Our long standing traditions are cancelled. My preparation for Christmas won’t involve gatherings with my closest friends and family members. There will be no lengthy meals or cross-country flights; no sitting on Santa’s lap or Nutcracker Ballet. I have not even entered a mall to purchase Christmas gifts. Instead I have bought most things online and ended up with fraud on my credit card too… My craft kit, my credit card, and many things I hold dear…. All of them stolen.
I feel uneasy. If these things can so easily be stolen, if I can be taken advantage of like this, where else is my safety in jeopardy? In today’s second reading, the false prophets instill doubt in the people. Maybe God isn’t even in control anymore? This is all no longer a part of salvation history.
But like a thief, God has snuck in where I least expected Him. God has been stealing moments, forcing my eyes to see and my ears to hear. My eyes cannot ignore the long lines of cars backed up on city streets, awaiting the contactless distribution from the food pantry. My ears cannot forget the little boy on my son’s Zoom who casually mentions not having enough to eat. My heart aches for dear friends whose lives are crumbling like a house of cards right now. I feel the loneliness in being helpless.
Like John the Baptist prepares the way for the Lord, the people around me are directing my attention towards what is still to come. A vaccine, a cure, peace. When tempted to despair, I am reminded there is hope.
My Advent was stolen, but not by porch pirates or cyber criminals. What I thought I needed for Advent was taken from me, and I’ve been invited by Jesus to something new. I was captured by the One who opens locked doors and barricaded hearts.