Our theme for Advent this year is, “It’s About Time.” Advent is a season where we look back to the promises of God fulfilled eventually (don’t rush here) in the birth of Jesus. We look ahead to the time when Jesus Christ will come again to bring the process of New Creation to its consummation. Advent is about waiting with hope and patience for that time to come. Advent is about the present time of preparation for the way Christ comes to us every day, every hour. It’s about time.
There is another dimension of this theme that serves as a kind of counterbalance to the hopeful and patient anticipation of God’s future. Yes, we are be able to rise above the fear and anxiety of what the future brings because we have seen it revealed in Jesus. We know that death will be overcome, justice will reign, the hungry will be fed, and that the degraded creation will be made new. So, we can be patient. That does not, however, mean we are content in the present. In fact, Advent, for me, is always about being a “hopeful malcontent.
Our Advent cry to “Come quickly, Lord” is partly a lament, a longing, that rises out of souls that are simply sick and tired of the death dealing, violence loving, inequitable, divided, everything-for-sale world that we steep in each day. I’m sick of it all and it's about time for change – lots if it.
Due to my age, I still have a little “hippie” in me. The discontent of the sixties and seventies is part of my memory. The music of that age still speaks to my inner malcontent. After we picked the theme of the season, I stumbled across a new song recently released by some old hippies with a new singer – Jefferson Starship. It is called – get this – “It’s About Time.” The cry is plaintive and hit home.
It's about time to clean out the water
Sisters, wives, mothers and daughters
Can't you feel the planet getting hotter?
How can you sit back and watch your own slaughter?
Old white men have had their turn
Thousands of years what have we learned
The hurricanes churn and the wild fires burn
We're mourning our sons they're forging more guns
It's about time, it's about time, it's about time
It's about earth, it's about life
It's about saving the world
We've got to unite now
It's about time
Put me in my tie-dyed shirt and let me raise my fist in the air! The lyric is rife with discontent over the “way things are.” You may have other matters that concern you more deeply. I know I do. The issues in the song are not the point. The point is that we long for a new world and Advent is a time to express such longing.
The flaw in the idealism of the hippie age is that it preached that we could, alone, by the convictions held and the sacrifices made bring the change. Advent reminds us that Yes! we can bring the reign of God ever closer with what we do. We participate in the redemption of the mess of life. It also tells us that ultimately, our hope is in God’s power to sustain us and redeem everything. It’s about time to act. It’s about time to wait. It’s about time to voice our discontent. It’s about time to wait in faith and hope. That is what Advent is about. It’s about time.
Tim Olson – Lead Pastor