Advent is a beautiful, but in some ways, challenging time of year. It is, for one thing, an opportunity for us to come to grips with the reality of our utter reliance on God and, moreover, our desire for Him. In this time we recall the history of the Israelites, who desperately waited for the promised Messiah. We too, as the People of God, wait in joyful expectation for Christ’s triumphant return and final victory; that final consummation of the New Covenant.
While this desire for God is felt in the depths of every human heart, it is not merely a spiritual reality. Rather, it is a reality that manifests itself in the world around us. When we consider the enormous issues facing our world, we echo the Psalmist, crying out “How long, O Lord?” The problems of poverty, spiritual indifference, violence, and discrimination continue to plague us and even increase, as we become more and more aware of our own inadequacy in addressing the root causes of these challenges. Try though might, we simply cannot find that perfect recipe to bring an end to social strife, and so we turn to Lord, in a state of total humility, weariness, and even embarrassment. It is in this place and time that we learn the meaning of trust. Once we come to recognize our own frailty, we have the opportunity to place our trust in Someone decidedly more dependable.
It is in this place of recognition of our own inadequacy that we learn to identify with the downtrodden and isolated. It is here that we learn to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” that we might be satisfied. It is here, from this position of humility, that we come to the heart of generosity. We come to recognize that any good we may enjoy is a gift from God, and in that spirit of gratitude and humility we learn to give of ourselves. The God of the universe has abundantly blessed us so that we in turn might bless others.
In no small way, I saw this play out in our canned food drive. The young men and women of our school came together in a beautiful show of generosity to support those in need. For many of them, this went beyond just asking their parents for money or raiding the kitchen pantry. Many students, themselves not wealthy, went out to their families and communities, begging on behalf of those in need. One thing that struck me most was the smiles on the faces of the young men and women as they turned in their goods. It reflected an authentic joy that comes from living out the faith.
All in all, the food drive was overwhelmingly successful. At the final tally, we had exceeded our goal by over 40%. I could not be more proud of the effort, energy, and focus of our students, staff, and community on this project. Our work on this drive showed me the value of teamwork, generosity, and trust in God. Moreover, it was a beautiful opportunity for our school family to herald the coming of His Kingdom.