The last Sunday of Advent and as this Advent season draws to a close I find my spirit aching with a deep longing for the coming birth of the Messiah and the world’s rebirth into a Messiah healed world in which the abundance and wholeness of shalom flourishes in all its dimensions. We have just been to see a performance of Handel’s Messiah which always fills me with both longing and anticipation.
Here in Australia there seems to be much to make my heart ache with that deep longing for a world made new by the healing power of Christ. After years of devastating drought many farmers were looking forward this year to an abundant harvest only to see it swept away in the flood waters that have inundated vast areas of the country in the last few weeks. Almost ripe heads of wheat are rotting in the mud. And on Christmas Island we have watched tragedy unfold as a boat full of refugees was dashed to pieces on the rocks within miles of their hoped for place of asylum. How many others I wonder never even made it this close to their hoped for refuge and perished in the seas between Indonesia and Australia without anyone knowing? On a more personal level I ache as I walk with my mother, now 87, still vital and alert but stooped and unsteady on her feet.
During this Advent season I have felt a deep ache and longing in my heart. Not just a longing for the birth of the child Jesus who would turn the world upside down but a deep longing, an ache within my heart for the rebirth of God’s Messiah healed world in which all will be made new and all of us will be transformed into the children that God intends us to be. I long for that world in which justice will reign and death and disease and oppression will be no more. I long for God’s world in which compassion and love and mercy will blossom.