Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, who are beloved in God the Father and kept safe for Jesus Christ: May mercy, peace, and love be yours in abundance. Beloved, while eagerly preparing to write to you about the salvation we share, I find it necessary to write and appeal to you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.—Jude 1-3
Advent is a season of preparation and expectancy, a season of waiting and hoping, a season of faith in the coming of Christ in the past, in the future, and in our own lives. Advent is not, however, a season to search for some reason within us to be jolly and joyful. It is a season when together we participate in the historic faith that has been given to us, passed on from generation to generation.
This is what the Christian family has done throughout the ages—together we believe that Christ has come, that he is alive and well in the world today, and will come again in glory when we see his advent again.
Like the rise and fall of the ocean’s tide, so too is the ebb and flow of my personal life with God. There are days when it is vividly clear that God is closer than the air I breathe. And there are other days when my faith seems smaller than a grain of sand, when I am swimming in the waves of doubt, and God appears to be on a distant shore. It is precisely on these days when I find it paramount to lean on the community of faith. This is not a passive leaning, however, as if to enjoy a vacation from the faith until it feels easier to pray. It is on these days when I sense the urgency to join in the prayers of the Church, to dirty my hands in service with others, to sing the timeless words of the people of God.
This is how we “contend for the faith.” Afterall, it is not my faith for which to contend, according to Jude, but the faith. This Christian faith does not belong to me, nor does it depend on me. It is the “salvation we share… the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” We choose to believe together even when some of us are weary by ourselves.
Everlasting God, you have welcomed us into your covenant and called us to be your people. Thank you that Advent does not depend on me, but on your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.