Advent is one of my favorite seasons of the Christian year. Most of the world has not heard of Advent, but
for Christians, it is an important reminder of the “Already” and “Not-Yet” of the Kingdom of God in which we live.
What is the Kingdom of God? In sermons this Summer, we talked about the Kingdom of God as God’s rule and
reign. The Kingdom of God is when and where God’s will is done. When Jesus went about the countryside,
he proclaimed the Kingdom of God is at hand.
How is the Kingdom of God “Already” and “Not Yet”?
God created the world and gave humans dominion over creation as God’s delegated representatives. In the
story of the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve listened to and obeyed Satan rather than obeying God, and in
doing so, they surrendered their authority to the enemy.
In Jesus, God came to take back creation, by reversing the disobedience of “Adam”
(the original ancestors and everyone after) through Jesus’ own obedience “even to
the point of death,” and by becoming the perfect sacrifice required to atone for sin (make peace, pay the
debt owed) under the first covenant between God and God’s people. Through his obedience, he demonstrated his sonship.
When Jesus rose from the dead, God’s victory was complete: Jesus “disarmed the rulers and authorities
and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Colossians 2:15) When Jesus ascended to
heaven, he took his place as King of Kings, Lord of Lords. God sent God’s Spirit to live in God’s people and the
new age of the Kingdom of God IS HERE.
And…The Kingdom is “Not yet” fully here. We need only to open our eyes each day, to have
human interactions, watch the news, and see suffering near and far, to know
the world is not what it should be. Advent reminds us that the world is still a work in progress toward the
Kingdom of God. “Are we there, yet?” No, not yet.
Why doesn’t God just bring the Kingdom now and end
all the bad things? The Apostle Peter tells us: “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of
slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
God’s timing and ways are perfect, and God is working in everything to bring us to God’s ultimate goal. St.
Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.” God
is working in each of our lives to lovingly refine us so we can find our rest in Him.
I have wonderful memories of Christmas growing up with traditional celebrations, but for me, the ultimate
meaning of Christmas is that Jesus IS – Jesus IS Here. Jesus IS Lord and King. Jesus IS Savior and Messiah.
Jesus IS the answer to and fulfillment of ALLLL of God’s promises, and God IS faithful and good and kind!
Advent reminds me that even when there are things in the world or in life or friends’ lives that are really hard, I
know God is working all things for good. Even when I do not know what it will ultimately look like – I know it will
be good because it will be in God’s love and it will be in Jesus. Advent reminds me that there is hope, peace, joy,
and love beyond what the world can see, but I can see it. The more I live into the reality of who Jesus IS, the
“Already” of God’s Kingdom, the more I can see how God is at work even where it seems “not yet.”