In the Christian tradition, Advent is a four-week time of waiting, longing, yearning for the Christ who is soon coming.
Advent began on Sunday and will continue until Christmas. In Advent, we are to turn our thoughts to the meaning of Christ’s coming and the deep significance of the season for followers of Jesus. I would go so far as to say that Advent and Christmas are my favorite liturgical seasons because they demand that we do the work to prepare our hearts to answer this question: What does it truly mean that God came and lived as one of us in our world to show us God’s way? The incarnation was the beginning of the Jesus movement to change the world.
How do we wait for Christ this year, in this both liturgical and, yes, political season that are both timeless and timely amid the moral, religious, and political crisis our nation and world are facing?
Perhaps we are waiting for the faith voices that claim Jesus Christ to be heard. We need voices willing to reclaim and proclaim the Jesus of whom his mother Mary prophesied: “He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty” (Luke 1:52-53). We need voices who understand as Mary did that Jesus’ coming would turn societies in the world upside down. As Isaiah prophesied and Jesus affirmed in Luke 4:18-19, Jesus began his ministry by proclaiming, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
This Advent, we are longing to hear voices that speak for Christ to speak out — including against the perpetual presidential words, behaviors, and policies that are clearly diametrically opposed to the teachings of Jesus Christ.
To honestly call those things “anti-Christ” is now required. For example, the white nationalism growing among us, the demonizing and dehumanizing of immigrants, and the demeaning and assaulting of women are not only racist, compassionless, or sexist — they are literally anti-Christ. To make a constant war on truth directly contradicts our Savior who says the truth will set us free.
Support for those presidential words and actions or silence in the face of them, especially from those who claim Christ, is now a threat to both democracy and faith — and a whole new generation is looking on.
We are waiting and longing to hear the voices that love Jesus to find the courage to say “anti-Christ” when we hear the words of hate, fear, and violence. The politics of fear, of hating rather than loving our neighbor, and putting the least of these last instead of first must be spoken to by all those who claim the politics of Jesus. Could our praying and calling out together for truth and justice help bring us together?
To be clear, it is not for us to name one person “The” anti-Christ, or his supporters as “anti-Christ,” and certainly the man in the White House is far too small and unimportant for that. Doing so would only escalate the morally outrageous conspiracies and dangerous apocalyptic theories that he and his followers love to spread. But we must speak out against the spirit of politics that are antithetical to the person and teachings of Jesus and, therefore, are anti-Christ.
What we most need is many clear, courageous, just, kind, humble, and loving voices to be called to speak the truth about Christ’s coming and call us back to Jesus during this very special Advent and Christmas season.
History is watching, faith is waiting, and hope is rising.
Come Lord Jesus.