In the past, God spoke…through the prophets at many times and in various ways.
~ Hebrews 1:1
Advent is a time in which we share in the longing of all those who lived in the distant past. We must feel how, in their suffering and struggle, they too longed for redemption and liberation, for unity, for peace, for a golden age. They waited for a manifestation of God’s love and unity, for a breaking in of his justice among the nations.
We must learn to put ourselves in the place of all those in Israel who were waiting for him who was to come. This One was to free them from their need and disruption, from sin, from their lack of fellowship, from their lost condition, so that they might come to God.
We are convinced that there is One who will create peace and social justice for everyone. We expect him and thus long with a humble spirit that his rulership is recognized.
This faithful, eager longing expects still more from the One who is to come. We are convinced that there is One who will create peace and social justice for everyone. We expect him and thus long with a humble spirit that his rulership is recognized in every country. And when this happens, he will turn bloody weapons into tools for work, and we shall become true brothers and sisters. The Messiah King of peace and justice, the world ruler of love and joy will reign! This was the expectation of old, and this is what we think of when we approach the season of Jesus’ birth.
Like the prophets of old, we too need to feel the outrageous injustice that exists within society today and how heavy a burden this is. Injustice ought to stir our hearts; the lack of peace in a world bristling with weapons should haunt us. Disunity exists not only among nations but also in the midst of every nation. There are far too many unjust governments today. A grave evil results when all our honest labor is supplanted by factories and modern technology. The workers are like living corpses who have no influence on the shaping of the economy, even though it is from their hands that all the things come which are enjoyed and distributed and sold.
Injustice ought to stir our hearts; the lack of peace in a world bristling with weapons should haunt us.
Dissensions between classes, races, and ethnic groups continue to erupt, and in large cities and industrial centers, violence floods the streets—a civil war, a war between brothers. Lovelessness is so great today that on the one side people have their nice homes and secure livelihoods, while on the other side parents lay their children on the counter at the welfare center for all to see. Some live so well while millions are on the way to perpetual poverty. Let us remember what Jesus said about the end of the age: Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most people will grow cold, and then the end will come.
Advent is a time when we await God’s intervention in the need of the present day, as he intervened then in Jesus’ birth. We long for the highest power to rescue this unhappy, torn humanity that knows so little community. Now is the time to ask God for a radical change in all things, even if this means we must go through judgment.
Eberhard Arnold was a theologian, writer, and founder of the Bruderhof Community. This article is taken from When the Time Was Fulfilled, a collection of Christmas meditations by Eberhard Arnold, Alfred Delp, and Christoph Friedrich, available as a free ebook from Plough Publishing. Used with permission.