Today is Black Friday. The news is about the long lines at the stores while others are braving the Internet in their pajamas. This year stores opened on Thanksgiving. Every year it seems our culture rushes us into the holiday season. Christmas decorations are up in stores earlier, Christmas music is released earlier. Santa and his reindeer are seen in commercials earlier and earlier.
Advent pulls us back. No, it is not Christmas yet. This is not the time for "Glory to God in the Highest" but the time to pray to the God of Glory for deliverance. We recall Israel's story, our story, humanity's story. Long was their slavery in Egypt, long was our slavery to sin and death. We wait for the promised Deliverer. We linger here in the waiting and the longing. We say no to the culture who would demand we rush into Christmas. We wait. We wait so our hope and our joy will be full. We join the story of Israel in Scripture who in exile would recall God's deliverance in the past and call on God to deliver once again. Advent calls us to remember the deliverance from Egypt and the deliverance brought in the birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ. Advent asks us, "where do we need deliverance today?" "what am I being held captive by?" Now wait expectantly. Our Deliverer is coming!