Fourth Sunday of Advent: We Are the Ones

Fourth Sunday of Advent: We Are the Ones
Advent candle lighting at the chapel of the Ecumenical Centre, World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland. From the 2020 Prayer Calendar

2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16, Luke 1:26-38

Advent is widely known to be a season of waiting. While reflecting on the scriptures from 2 Samuel and Luke for this meditation, my thoughts kept returning to the last line of the poem by June Jordan titled “Poem for South African Women,” where she says, “we are the ones we have been waiting for.”  This phrase has been attributed to many -- a song by Sweet Honey in The Rock, author Alice Walker and, probably most famously, President Obama. In 2 Samuel, God asked King David through God’s servant Nathan, “Why have you not built me a house?” as if to ask, “Well? What are you waiting for?”

The poem’s imagery returned to me again as I read the scripture from Luke. We focus on Mary who is called to do something unimaginable at the time; birthing a child while yet unwed -- a descendant of David. And let’s not forget Elizabeth at the same time doing the seemingly impossible; bringing forth life when everyone knew her to be barren. I imagine that the months of their pregnancies were filled with trepidation and anxiety, wondering how others would judge them. One being unmarried and the other beyond her expected years of fertility, yet both looking toward the fulfillment of God’s promises.

The year 2020 has been one of waiting, an Advent season of our lives. We have stayed in our homes waiting for COVID-19 to pass, afraid of endangering one another through physical contact. We have worked from home, upgraded our internet plans and made space for our children to be schooled from our living rooms. We even waited for toilet paper to return to the stores. Those in the United States anticipated what we knew would be an historic election day, and then waited again for officials to figure out the results. We waited on charges related to the Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd cases after witnessing their deaths play out on our screens. We waited on the Louisville police department to arrest the cops who killed essential EMT worker Breonna Taylor. All the while inside our homes offering thoughts and prayers to their families.

Nothing But Time

During this seemingly endless wait, we had nothing but time now to pay attention. We watched our news feeds and our social media timelines fill with videos of our brothers and sisters being murdered, one after another. We distracted ourselves by binge watching shows for just about a day or two; then returning, forced to witness yet another life taken before our eyes. We saw Black and Brown women and men dying at the hands of their neighbors or the police, and wondered, when will it end?

And then something began to stir. The people decided they had waited long enough. Brave activists and allies took to the streets across the United States and around the world during a global pandemic in the name of equality, liberation and justice. They were shot with rubber bullets and tear-gassed, going head-to-head with police forces who were armed for war. Yet night after night for months they showed up, lifting their voices, demanding to be seen and heard. This, to me, is what Advent is about -- we are the hands and feet of Christ, rediscovering the Christ in each of us. We, the children of David, Mary and Elizabeth, are seeking to build a home and claim the Kin-dom promised by God to those who came before us. Despite the empire’s attempts to keep us at bay, we keep showing up for the liberation of God’s people. In deciding to act we recognized ourselves as chosen and holy. In this season of Advent, we know that indeed, we are the ones we have been waiting for.

Tiffany French GoffeTiffany French Goffe is a layperson from the New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. She is a recipient of an Historically Black Colleges and Universities education. Tiffany also serves on several committees in her conference.


Posted or updated: 12/17/2020 12:00:00 AM

Give Thanks. Give Now.

Advent 2020

November 29: First Sunday of Advent
December 6: Second Sunday of Advent
December 13: Third Sunday of Advent
December 20: Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 24: Christmas Eve
December 31: New Year's Eve


2021 Prayer CalendarClick Here.2021 Prayer Calendar available on the e-store