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Christian Union: The Magazine
November 30, 2021

Slowing Down to Acknowledge "Endarkenment"

The Christmas season is upon us which means shoppers are shopping, homes are being decorated, city streets are filled with Christmas trees and garland, and a festive air seems to sparkle around us. But this kind of Christmas season stands in stark opposition to the Church’s season of advent. Advent is decidedly not about shopping and decorating. It is about waiting, watching, and hoping in the darkness of our world. And perhaps, that is the timbre of the season that we need most.

A wooden manger and three wooden crosses

Advent, rather than signaling a time for feasting or even celebrating the birth of our savior, is primarily about waiting and watching for the return of Christ. In the same way that Jesus entered the world after years of promises and prophesies, He will one day enter it again and put a final end to sin and death.

Advent is a season designed to remind us that Jesus is coming back, and our lives, our habits, and our worship should reflect this basic Christian belief. In Advent, we slow down to acknowledge what Fleming Rutledge, an Episcopal priest, calls endarkenment—the harsh reality that no matter what technology or vaccine or things we own, the world is groaning for the return of Christ to set all of its brokenness right. 

In this article for Christianity Today, which was published in December of 2021, Rutledge reminds us that our world is not on a self-betterment plan of enlightenment, we are ever bent by sin and death, ever darkening until that glorious day Jesus returns. “The biblical story is rigorously unsentimental. It doesn’t offer optimism. It doesn’t offer 'positive thinking.' It looks deeply into human misery, human folly, human pain, and plain old human disappointment,” Rutledge says. 

In the midst of what has been a very dark few years, we need to be reminded that there is a much greater story behind our present circumstances. Chrisitan Union strives to teach students and professionals a biblical narrative that points to the nature of sin, the work of Satan, the power of the Holy Spirit for believers today, and the promise of redemption and restoration.

Join us in this Advent season as we, like Israel waited for Christ, await our returning King with hope, anticipation, and watchfulness.

Read the full article here.

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