Advent Devotional Dec 19: Better Days

Better Days by Goo Goo Dolls

 And you ask me what I want this year

And I try to make this kind and clear
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days
Cause I don’t need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I need someplace simple where we could live
And something only you can give
And thats faith and trust and peace while we’re alive
And the one poor child who saved this world
And there’s 10 million more who probably could
If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

I wish everyone was loved tonight
And somehow stop this endless fight
Just a chance that maybe we’ll find better days

So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again

 I’m going to imagine that this was a new song to many of you.  It is not a traditional carol but a recent pop song done for a Target Christmas CD.  And yet it captures on many important Advent themes.  I enjoyed its overall sense of aspiring to better days, which is clear just from the title.  However several particular lines jumped out at me as well.  The first and most important was the line, “And that’s faith and trust and peace while we’re alive.”

I remember in college studying Religion and Ethics and reading about the struggle for Christianity to not bypass issues of justice by holding out the golden carrot of afterlife, aka Heaven as a place beyond Earth and beyond the grave where all is perfect and all past injustice is put right.

I ran across a great example of this while I served in the United Church of Christ in the Philippines as I was taught that Filipino theology was immersed in the a theology of sacrifice born of the Spanish Conquest.  Spanish missionaries (using the Church to prop up Empire) talked about sacrifice being the keys to Heaven and if the people would patiently endure suffering they would get eternal rewards.  Maybe that sounds good in Peter’s letters in the Bible, but in practice is was theological abuse of marginalized people and Church sponsored oppression.  Heaven is a danger to every Christian journey, the idea that all will be made right as excusing a lack of effort to make it right now is a concept we have to be ever vigilant against.

And that’s faith and trust and peace while we’re alive.”

While we’re alive!  This is the true revelation for me about incarnation.  Incarnation says God’s place is here, and God’s time is now.  We do not simply wait for some great justification in the sky to right the wrongs at the end of the drama.  We wait, watch, prepare, and participate in the reality made flesh – made real – right now, “while we’re alive.”

Incarnation explosion is about…

“If we all just stopped and said a prayer for them”

“I wish everyone was loved tonight, And somehow stop this endless fight”

“Cause everyone is forgiven now, Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again”

And yes that is the work of Christ – but the work of Christ is the work of God and the work of humanity made one.  We are at work in God and God is at work in us right here, right now, “on earth as it is in heaven.”  That is our goal – not an escape from here, but recognizing that God has come to dwell among mortals in order that heaven might explode on earth.

For this work to be good and true it means no injustice can be excused as something that will be made right later because later is now or never

“So take these words
And sing out loud
Cause everyone is forgiven now
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again
Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again.”

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About Andrew Kukla

I am the proud father of four wonderful children, loving husband to Caroline, brother to three mostly wonderful sisters, and son of two parents that gifted me with a foundation of love and freedom. I also am a Presbyterian pastor and former philosophy major with a love of too many words (written with many grammatical errors and parenthetic thoughts), Soren Kierkegaard, and reflections on living a life of discipleship that is open to all the challenges, ups and downs, brokenness and grace, of a chaotic and wonderful life founded upon the love of God for all of creation.

Posted on December 19, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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