by The Rev. David Freels
December 22: AM Psalm 61, 62; PM Psalm 112, 115; Isaiah 11:1-9; Revelation 20:1-10; John 5:30-47
The picture above is of the farmhouse on Amherst Rd. which belonged to my great aunts Helen and Margaret. I spent a lot of Sunday afternoons at that house. I played there as a child, as my father had before me. It was full of the aroma of German mint candy that Aunt Helen would make at the holidays. It had a long dark staircase that terrified me as a child. Once when I was about 7 I ran to the top, looked around and shot back down to the light and familiar voices. The furniture was dark wood and under the glass on the table tops were old photographs of my family past. The train track ran practically on top of it, and the engineer and the man in the caboose would wave as I ran through the field beside it.
Today those folks are gone, and the once grand old house is falling in on itself. I stopped in one day a few months ago and was surprised at how small the rooms appeared. Windows are broken, the staircase sags, and the kitchen has been gutted by teenagers and transients. As I looked at the sorry condition of the present I found that I could still visualize the story past, of family gathered. I see that in the tension of the now, my family doesn’t understand why I feel so strongly about this old place. I hope for a restoration yet to come. I hope for a day when someone with eyes to see, might come and restore it to its former beauty.
What has this to do with Advent? This is the season of looking back to a time when the world awaited the promise of God. They knew and told the stories of who they were and the promise of One who would set things right. And because we believe that promise was kept, it is also a season of looking ahead to the fulfillment of another promise, that Christ will come again. In the middle, where we are now, is the tension. Things are not as they should be, and not as they will be. We are the ones who know and are to tell the story. We are the ones who should see and understand the unfolding of the story of which we are members, and await the promise of the restoration to come.