This week, we began the Advent season in the midst of a third wave of COVID-19 infections across the country, with 265,000 deaths, including 9,500 in Michigan. This season of our lives together has been a difficult one and while there is some light at the end of the tunnel with multiple vaccines on the way, we’re not there yet. This is a season of waiting. Advent is a season of waiting, even when we want Jesus to hurry up and be born already, because we need to prepare ourselves for the incarnation first. This winter will also be a season of waiting, because we all desperately want to be able to see each other again, and sing, and go to dances, and go to school, and get out of the isolation that is breaking our hearts every single day. That day will come, but not tomorrow. Please don’t give in to the despair that hope will never come.
On this first Sunday of Advent, we lit candles of hope, because God is always with us and because we know that Christ will come again and transform the world. We are a people of hope. We hope for a better future and that is exactly why we wear masks and continue to worship at home, because we know it makes a difference, even if it’s small, even if it’s hard. We’re not giving up. We are hoping. We are preparing the way for the Lord and we are doing everything we can to keep people out of hospitals so that the medical community can focus as much as they can on the logistics of deploying a vaccine when it’s ready.
Change is hard and loneliness is hard. Praying into a camera and sharing fellowship over zoom aren’t the same and there are days when I want to throw my microphone away. But we haven’t given up. We’re still finding ways to connect, because we refuse to give up. That is what hope looks like, even when it’s resigned, even when it’s annoyed, even when it’s frustrated that a stupid video file won’t attach to an email. We are a people who hope. We are a people who dream. We are a people who are stronger together, even from six feet apart or farther, even with masks on, even when we have to come up with new ways to make it happen.
So keep believing. Keep wearing your mask. Keep hoping.