Mark 13 doesn’t present the best way to start Advent – at least at first glance. With the way that Advent/Christmas is presented all around us, this feels pretty much like the opposite of how we should start Advent. Words that feel more like end-of-the-world stuff don’t necessarily feel like they fit with the season. But maybe that’s the perfect and necessary way to start this season. Starting with the call to Watch. Starting with the call to be intentional about Hope. Joanna Macy, in her book, Active Hope, shares about this when she writes that “Active Hope is a practice. Like tai chi or gardening, it is something we do rather than have.” She then goes on to share about how the starting place for active hope is having a clear view of reality – a reality which acknolwedges that life isn’t always as we think it should be.
This idea of active hope feels very much like this picture. Our immediate (foreground) circumstances may feel like they are cold and unwelcome. But when we look through and look beyond we see the Hope that is out there that we can move towards.
That’s what I hear in these words of Jesus as well – words that paint a picture of a tough reality but a message through it all that ultimately, God is bigger than anything that can come our way.