Lights in the Darkness
First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming?” – 2 Peter 3:3-4 (NRSV)
Advent is a season but also a way of life. As a season, it is the weeks before Christmas, busy with holiday preparation.
As a way of life, Advent means more. It means trusting that God is faithful and coming even when the evidence of God’s presence and power may seem in short supply.
One of the most memorable characters in Trevor Noah’s wonderful autobiography, Born a Crime: Stories of a South African Childhood, is his mother. Of his mother, Noah wrote, “She was as stubborn as she was religious.”
Noah’s mother was the opposite of the “scoffers” that Peter said you can count on coming when times are tough, those would taunt the faithful, asking where is this God they believe in.
Trevor’s mother had a quick response to that. “That’s the devil talking.”
I can easily imagine Peter’s further words on the lips of Noah’s mother. “Remember, with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promises as some think of slowness, but is patient with you … that all may come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9).
Trevor Noah was fortunate to have a woman of such indomitable faith in his corner. My own maternal grandmother played a somewhat similar role in my life. What about you? If we think about it, I’ll bet most all of us have had such a person in our life somewhere along the way.
Scoffing is easy and plentiful. Those of solid and enduring faith help us to keep Advent all year ‘round.
And who knows? Maybe you are that person for another.
At this darkest time of the year, grant us grace to recall those shining lights of wise and steady faith who have lightened our darkness. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book, Useful Wisdom: Letter to Young (and Not So Young) Ministers will be published early next year by Wipf and Stock. You can read and sign up for his blog at www.anthonybrobinson.com.