The Mishnah contains the following saying of the rabbis concerning the observance of Passover: In every generation a person must regard oneself as if he or she came forth personally from Egypt. Do we ever put ourselves in Advent expectation in ancient Palestine, even just once?
For many years, Carolyn and I lived in Geneva. We were impressed by the Swiss canton’s continuing observance of its Calvinistic Reformation roots. Symbolizing this connection is its official Latin motto: Post Tenebras, Lux, or, “After Darkness, Light.” This phrase informs us about this Advent season. Darkness. Expectation. Then true Light. “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:9)
Yes, Advent prepares us for our exodus journey to the eternal Canaan. Incarnation of the Light among us. Then Epiphany, as the Light of Christ begins to shine upon the world. Lent, where we walk with Jesus in his journey through the Wilderness of the world. Holy Week, when we ask God to “grant that we, walking in the way of the cross, may find it none other than the way of life and peace.” (Collect for Monday in Holy Week) Then glorious Easter, Ascension and Pentecost.
Yes, imagine ourselves sitting in the darkness of Roman rule of Palestine—of slavery, injustice and poverty. Waiting. Hoping for light. Suddenly it comes … post tenebras, lux!
Now, when we pause, also let us consider those who today, in their Advent, sit in deep darkness of slavery, injustice, despair and poverty. Waiting. Hoping. How can we be healing servants of the Light of Christ for them? As Jesus said, “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” (John. 20:21b)