I was walking down the street and thinking that it doesn’t much feel like Advent. But then the shooting happened at that center in California. So many shootings. So much death that comes after the cover up of a cop murdering yet another precious Black man in Chicago.
There it is. I feel the spirit of Advent. I feel the urgent need that we have to be redeemed. I want to fall on me knees and shout ‘Kyrie eleison’ and wail and weep in sackcloth. How many will die before things change? Who is next? I am furious and grief stricken and frozen. We need swift political and cultural change. We need to be saved from the powers that be and ourselves. More lives will be lost. There will be more mass shootings and more cops and people in power will use their power to take the lives of the Black and Brown and the Others among us.
We need someone that will come to us swiftly and overturn systems. We need the government to be upon the shoulders of someone who will do better.
And then I am reminded of the Advent story in its entirety. I remember the one who came to save us.
Without fail there are moments in my week where I am so exhausted I am just slap happy and giggling with fatigue. Children are bickering and I haven’t folded all of the laundry or started dinner for their parents and I cannot hand out pretzels and slice apples fast enough to sustain all of us in our hour of need, or I am video calling a parent as their child is in the throws of a very scary seizure. I text my friend to stay sane and we exchange stories from our days that revolve around the needs of children. We are so tired and weary that all we can do is laugh to keep ourselves from weeping.
I see now in this world how much we need political change. I remember learning about how the Jewish people hoped and waited and prayed for a political leader. They needed a new King to bring a new Kingdom of peace and justice.
In the face of real and urgent need, the solution that was sent to the earth was a Brown teenage girl with a baby and a baby-daddy situation that was less than ideal.
People needed saving and all they got was this baby.
I feel like laughing to keep from weeping.
Us: “God, help.”
God: “Here. Have this baby.”
I imagine myself weeping in sackcloth, pleading my case before God, like Job and Jacob and all the God-wrestlers before me.
And a Brown girl stumbles before me and places a baby in my arms.
I laugh hysterically from slap-happy exhaustion.
Me: “You’re kidding, right?”
Are you kidding us? Are you kidding me, God? We need more than this baby if anything is going to happen. Since when are political and social movements of change launched on the back of infants?
Insert furious weeping and hopelessness.
We asked that our children be spared. We asked for police to be held accountable. We asked for honest political leaders. We asked for justice. I asked for my marriage to be redeemed and brought back to life.
Children are dead at the hands of trigger happy and racist cops. Cover ups and corruption are rampant. Mass shootings are normal now. I have the memories of a miscarriage. Divorce papers are on the way.
You did not send enough. You did not send what we expected or asked for.
But here we are. A very forward midwife has yanked down our shirts and placed a very naked new-born baby on our chests. This is what we get. And it is so absurd. The answer to our desperate pleas for help is so very insane that I am driven to believe and hope in you because of how ridiculous this solution is.
You are a God that turns the world and things and us on our heads and you send a babe into a desperate war zone. You send us the most unlikely of things in the most unlikely of ways and call us to be a people that wait and hope and hope and wait.
Suddenly I feel the spirit of Advent move by me in a whisper. I laugh. Isn’t that always how you work? You move among us in the ways that we least expect. You aren’t in the fire or the gusts of wind.
You are a whisper. A baby.