Advent is the time of waiting and expecting the arrival of the new born King. December 2020 is the time of waiting and expecting the arrival of the coronavirus vaccine. This is not to say a Pfizer vaccine is on par with our Savior, instead it’s asking the questions: Could the collective feelings of the first century be similar to those we are experiencing in the 21st century? Could Advent 2020 bring us closer to the ideals of an Advent season? Advent is characterized by words like patience, longing, hoping and yearning— words that most Americans don’t like to experience and try to avoid– and yet all these attributes have been thrust upon us as we wait for an effective vaccine in the pandemic.
Like before Jesus was born, the world is in crisis. Darkness seemingly has gained the upper hand in many corners. Grief and fear abound. Paul reminded us that in the first century, “in the fullness of time,” Jesus came. God’s timing was perfect then. God’s timing is still perfect. What’s the difference between then and now? God is with us. Jesus has come. The Holy Spirit can empower us. We are not alone in the pandemic as we wait!
In the season of Advent, we not only remember Jesus’ first coming to Bethlehem, but we look forward to His second coming. We are in an “already but not yet” time. Jesus has already come. His Kingdom has already been established, but it has not yet been fulfilled in His second coming. In these waning days of 2020, likewise we are in an already, but not yet time as it relates to the vaccine. The vaccine has already been made and delivered, but people have yet to be vaccinated. Like in the season of Advent, we need patience. Like in Advent, we are hopeful.
If the experts are correct, and if the next six weeks are the most challenging days of the pandemic (the darkness before the dawn), let’s determine to keep our eyes on Jesus. Let’s resolve to trust more, love more, and serve more. Let’s pray more and check in on each other more. Let’s be hopeful and patient as we minister and carry on the work of Christ! Let’s put into practice the attributes of Advent more than ever.
Our ultimate hope is not in a vaccine (even one with a 94% efficacy); our hope is in the Lord. As we wait, in an Advent season or not, in a pandemic or not, with John the Revelator let our prayer constantly be, “Come, Lord Jesus, come!” (Revelation 22:20)