The English language defines advent as an act of arrival, a starting point, the dawn, introduction and initiation. Advent has a lot to do with the newness and genesis either of an act or process.
It is within this context that Christians all over the world are now called together to celebrate advent as the beginning of new life in the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is an exciting time for people who for so long walked in darkness of sin that they now see the light.
As the world celebrates this historic death of one who called himself “the Life”, we are not under any pressure to engage in activities that reduce our lives to trash and ashes. This is because it has become customary over years to lose than gain more lives during the course of this season. It is a self-inflicted misery for some people to be so overwhelmed with the celebration of the “newness” of this era to the extent that they hurt themselves and others.
South Africans and other people of the world had to be liberated from the shackles of death and human destruction at the time when the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ should be affording them the opportunity to “have life and have it abundantly”, as the Evangelist John records.
The world lives so much under economic, social and political stress that advent was supposed to reduce. The pain comes even with those who use advent to make more money and to exploit the poor for self-gain. Those who celebrate advent have to do so with their means and not to allow materialism and affluence to define their space.
Christ wasn’t materialistic. He shunned exploitation of one by another. He came so that people are not clubbed into class society where others live on wealth while the rest on need. In Christ we all are one. As we celebrate him let us be mindful of the weak and those that society marginalizes and leave them destitute. Let us share the morsel of bread with the needy child, find a job for the unemployed and work for peace where there is tension, war and conflict.
Our country and the world can only become a better place if all of us were to be sensitive to the needs of others. We will a better people if our exchanges were to be based on goodwill and unselfishness. This way we will be honouring the legacy of Jesus Christ in the most befitting manner and stop being hypocrites who use his name in vain and for self-aggrandizement.
It is very wrong, evil and just unfortunate that today his name is used to generate profits by some and to mislead God’s people into utter exploitation by those who claim to be acting in his name. Let us beware of such wolves who clothe in sheep’s skin. They are the enemies of peace and goodwill.