Advent 2022 — December 17

25 “And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity from the noise of the sea and its surging, 26 people fainting from fear and expectation of what is coming on the inhabited earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of Man arriving in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to happen, stand up straight and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near!”



“Look Up, Your Redemption is Drawing Near”[1]
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Let’s not deceive ourselves. “Your redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28), whether we know it or not, and the only question is: Are we going to let it come to us too, or are we going to resist it? Are we going to join in this movement that comes down from heaven to earth, or are we going to close ourselves off? Christmas is coming—whether it is with us or without us depends on each and every one of us.

Such a true Advent happening now creates something different from the anxious, petty, depressed, feeble Christian spirit that we see again and again, and that again and again wants to make Christianity contemptible. This becomes clear from the two powerful commands that introduce our text: “Look up and raise your heads” (Luke 21:28). Advent creates people, new people. We too are supposed to become new people in Advent. Look up, you whose gaze is fixed on this earth, who are spellbound by the little events and changes on the face of the earth. Look up to these words, you who have turned away from heaven disappointed. Look up, you whose eyes are heavy with tears and who are heavy and who are crying over the fact that the earth has gracelessly torn us away. Look up, you who, burdened with guilt, cannot lift your eyes. Look up, your redemption is drawing near. Something different from what you see daily will happen. Just be aware, be watchful, wait just another short moment. Wait and something quite new will break over you: God will come.

You know what a mine disaster is. In recent weeks we have had to read about one in the newspapers.

The moment even the most courageous miner has dreaded his whole life long is here. It is no use running into the walls; the silence all around him remains.… The way out for him is blocked. He knows the people up there are working feverishly to reach the miners who are buried alive. Perhaps someone will be rescued, but here in the last shaft? An agonizing period of waiting and dying is all that remains.

But suddenly a noise that sounds like tapping and breaking in the rock can be heard. Unexpectedly, voices cry out, “Where are you, help is on the way!” Then the disheartened miner picks himself up, his heart leaps, he shouts, “Here I am, come on through and help me! I’ll hold out until you come! Just come soon!” A final, desperate hammer blow to his ear, now the rescue is near, just one more step and he is free.

We have spoken of Advent itself. That is how it is with the coming of Christ: “Look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Application & Challenge

So often, this time of year is called the season of giving. Consider ways that you can give in the upcoming week. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you are able, buy a present and give to a local ministry that seeks to share the love of Christ to families having a tough time.
  • Maybe you cannot financially support a ministry or buy a present at this time:
    • Do you have items that can go to support local ministries – extra clothes, coats, food, or used housing items or toys, etc.?
    • Are there opportunities to give of your time to minister to others – nursing home, food pantry, soup kitchen, etc.?

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas, ed. Jana Riess, trans. O. C. Dean Jr., First edition. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 40–41.

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