Advent: Resurrection, Restoration, New Creation

The first advent season, we must imagine, was longer than four weeks. Probably, the season of waiting for Joseph was more like four months, or five. How long would it take before Mary knew she was pregnant? How long before Joseph was told–or noticed?

The first Advent was the waiting-out of a pregnancy. Waiting for the advent of the child that was mysteriously formed.

The beginning of the first Advent was not the announcement to Mary, or to Joseph, by the angel. It was the work of the Holy Spirit.

Our understanding of the work of the Spirit is often so personalized and internalized that we don’t stop to think about an actual physical form being created, taken, sparked to life, by this manifestation of God.

Spirit is what broods over the surface of the deep before the deep is beaten back and life brought forth out of chaos.

Spirit is what goes forth from God in the valley of dry bones, showing Ezekiel that the bones, in fact can live–showing Ezekiel that “dead” Israel can, in fact, be restored to newness of life.

Spirit is what comes upon Mary to bring Israel’s extended exile to an end in the creation of new life, new humanity, new Israel, in the man Jesus.

Spirit is what comes upon Mary to bring to fulfillment the promise God spoke to a people living in fear of the dominion of an opposing king: God has not left you, God has not forsaken you–behold! a virgin shall conceive and bear a son!

Advent is the formation of new life, a calling into being out of nothing, it is a calling into being of a new Israel; it is the promise of life for those who are dead.

Creation begins anew. Israel’s story will be fulfilled.

In righteous Joseph’s season of Advent is recapitulated Israel’s season of Exile. Only now, Israel’s valley of dry bones has already been breathed upon by the Spirit of the Lord, the wind has blown in the womb of the virgin, and the day of Salvation has begun to dawn.

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