Three little words – no, not those ones.

Photo: Kurt Baushardt

This Advent feels dark.

Don’t get me wrong, I know it always is this time of year. Mornings barely get going, and the afternoons slump into their post-lunch nap. But this year I can feel it more tangibly than before, the darkness wrapping around like a duvet.

Maybe it’s because for the past few years, my December has been filled with endless pre-Christmas catch-ups, cocktails, cosy house parties and raucous work dos. I’ve kept myself surrounded with bright lights and bubbles and relentless jingling bells. This year, the rhythm of life has become more reflective – I’m spending more evenings in churches, chapels, cathedrals and crypts. There the darkness seeps in through stained glass and hangs silently in the vast emptiness below high ceilings.

Sometimes, it’s not just present, it’s oppressive.

A few weeks ago, I had my first experience of aggressive homophobic abuse – it scared me and it shook me, and although we were travelling a familiar route and walking on the streets I tread each day, that night we trudged through a much thicker darkness. And with each breaking news story of violence and hatred, whether on our own doorsteps or someone else’s, the darkness seems a little bit more powerful.

Come, Lord Jesus.

It’s the refrain that I’ve heard over and over again, in choral music and collects and in my own mumbled prayers.

Come, Lord Jesus.

It’s the silent plea of despondent hearts, who dare to guard their glimmer of hope.

Come, Lord Jesus.

It’s the battle cry of those who are tired of war, who watch for the Prince of Peace.

Come, Lord Jesus. 

It’s the insistent prayer of those who long for justice and know who can bring it about.

It’s a prayer that the Church has prayed into the darkness since its birth. It’s a prayer that history be wrapped up and eternity take over. It’s a prayer for the end of this world as we know it.

But this is not the utterance of the defeated, nor a symptom of despair. 

In many ways, this Advent holds more excitement for me than any I can remember – in almost every part of my life, it’s arriving with new family, new love, new expectations, and the beginning of life-long adventures.

And more than ever before, I’m singing ‘Come, Lord Jesus’. 

Come as the judge and bring justice to the oppressed.
Come as the conqueror and break the power of darkness.
Come as the redeemer and make something beautiful out of our mess.

I thought it was a prayer people prayed from the valley, from the pit, when the darkness was too much. But even as I stand on the mountaintop with the wind in my hair, I’ve been calling, ‘Come, Lord Jesus’. As I’ve basked in grace, in the light of God’s goodness, I’ve been more aware than ever of the dark.

Perhaps the more we experience the good gifts of God, the more we want them completely: unsullied and unstained by the inky blackness of hatred, loneliness, bitterness, envy and prejudice. 

When the King returns, he won’t cast aside our love, our joy, or our earthy, grubby contentment. He won’t come to trample on our gently nurtured hopes, or snuff out our fledgling dreams. The King is good, and his Kingdom is good. Nothing that is good will be wasted. So when he comes, he’ll come with perfect judgement – setting all things more right than we ever knew they could be. And when he comes, he’ll come with mercy – with more compassion than we ever dreamed he could have.

And the good we know will be made complete. Our deepest desires will be satisfied by being with him. Our confusion laid to rest by knowing him. Our potential fully realised as we’re made like him. We’ll finally know love unfettered by our frailty, joy uninhibited by our fear, peace undisturbed by divisions.

We will know the life we were created for.

So I’ll whisper these words into the darkness tonight, holding onto holy unrest in a world that feels broken. And I’ll whisper these words into my heart tonight, knowing the promised dawn will one day break.

Come, Lord Jesus.

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About Claire

@claireylegs Keen on Jesus. Keen on justice. Ministry assistant in the Great North East. Blogger. Find me in: coffee shop / church / pub / bed.
This entry was posted in My life and faith, Recent posts, Salvation, heaven and hell and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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