"In the last days, the mountain of the Lord's house will be the highest of all - the most important place on earth. People from many nations will come and say, ‘Come, let us go to the mountain of the Lord… There he will teach us his ways, and we will walk in his paths.'" - Micah 4:1-2
After he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, the now late Senator John McCain came to the Capitol to take part in the crucial health care vote. In his speech, McCain said to his senatorial colleagues: "I hope we can again rely on humility, on our need to cooperate, on our dependence on each other."
McCain's speech didn't offer the Senate body anything it hadn't heard before, but it struck a chord with the senators, and indeed with Americans. It reminded us of what we already know, but what we are often prone to put aside in the pursuit of our partisan rivalries. It reminded us that mutual respect and a willingness to compromise are central to our processes of democracy.
After seasons of futile wrangling and bitter polarization, bi-partisan unity and social civility again captured the imagination of the American populace.
Similarly, the message of Advent is not new. It's been around for a long time. Love so intense and so determined, that it became flesh. Incarnate love that would sacrifice itself to make its appeal to a humanity in crisis.
This is an old message that never gets old. Its relevancy may be obscured, but never erased.
For all of us who chafe at the commercialization of Christmas and the diminishment of the Gospel: take heart.
The message of Advent is making a comeback. In times like these, it has to.
Lord prepare us for the appreciation of your Coming.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.