Advent has begun and the countdown to Bethlehem has started. School children, virtual or actual, are looking at how many more days to break, and the rest of the world turns at its own calendar. The Church has begun another year and no one knows what will happen in it, except God.
The COVID vaccine is supposed to begin making its way around the states sometime after December 15, so hopefully the nightmare will end. But no one knows what really will happen, except God.
As of this day, it looks as though the electoral process will go on as it began. But no one knows what really will happen, except God.
A pattern maintains and we will follow it because we have no alternative at the moment. Until we are given a variation in the day, we go forward, confident that the Lord will guide us through to the end of all things and the beginning of a new heaven and earth.
237 years ago, on November 25, 1783, the last of the British military left the newly freed American colonies. This was after more than two tense years of waiting for the diplomats to finalize that the colonies were free and sovereign states. The British capitulated at Yorktown October 19, 1781, but there were still thousands of British, German and Loyalist troops that occupied New York, Philadelphia, Charleston and Boston, waiting for the orders to ship out home. And they were able to attack at any time if the Crown and Parliament had decided to do so. Washington's army was at a breaking point, with no pay for months and no conscription to stop the British. But the Parliament had had enough and recalled their troops from the colonies/states.
Never mind all the indecencies done by either side. Never mind the huge prison ships that ended the life of many a patriot. Never mind the many, many insults borne by the Yankees. When the last lobster-back Johnnie stepped off colonial soil, the joy erupted. The hope and anticipation of the previous eight year's sacrifices in blood, treasure and time spent in warfare was replaced by the new states in a new world with new life and leadership.
They had no idea what would happen, but God did. And despite all the hiccups and changes that came--very big ones indeed (the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, etc.)--people began to think of themselves in terms as new persons in the new world. It would take even more changes down the road until more equity and equality would reach more new citizens. The November 25th date was originally known as Evacuation Day, and it was celebrated until late in the 19th century, when Thanksgiving took its place, during the Civil War. A new day indeed.
This reminds us of the New Church Year: new opportunities, new life from death, new hopes and plans, all with the same Lord who came once as a helpless baby in a feed trough, so that salvation would come to the world. And all this because God knew what to do and when to do it and with Whom it would be done:
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Heavenly Father, as we are drawn into this season of hope and anticipation, guide our hearts and minds where true treasures are found: in a manger, on a cross, into an empty tomb and looking forward to a Coming King who will bring about the end of the old, dead world. Help us to see Jesus in the midst of all the change and chaos. Remind us we have an eternal home that will be waiting for us when He returns. Thank You for adopting us in Jesus through Baptism. Amen.