Advent offers the double purpose of waiting for two things while preparing for both—waiting for Christmas and waiting for the in-breaking of God’s kin-dom. The preparation for Christmas is obvious: we have a tree to decorate, cookies to bake, presents to wrap. Preparing for the in-breaking of God’s kin-dom takes a little more creativity. For starters, we might wonder what we’re waiting for. Though there are many possibilities, scripture repeatedly suggests a large feature of the kin-dom is the end of oppression. Over and over again in the Bible, God’s people are promised, and often experience, the end of oppression. The Hebrews leave Egypt, the exiles return from Babylon, the widow, orphan, and sojourner are treated like family.
Oppression assumes different guises throughout history, even while the experiences of discrimination, prejudice, and injustice are consistent. Oppressed people cannot flourish to the full extent of God’s intended purpose for their lives because of limitations placed on them by others. Just ask an LGBTQ+ person who is denied the chance to play sports. Ask a woman whose salary is 80% of her male colleagues. Even if different in form, these oppressions have the same outcome as those described in the Bible.
The in-breaking of God’s kin-dom will end oppression, but clearly we are still waiting just as we wait for Christmas during Advent. And just like we don’t wait passively for Christmas, neither do we wait passively for the end of oppression. There are policies to support, amendments to ratify, laws to pursue.
Advent 2023 coincides with the 75th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, bringing into alignment secular propositions and Christian doctrine with the goal of ending oppression. For our purposes this Advent, we have directed our gaze at two oppressed groups present among us, women and the LGBTQ+ community. We hope our reading of scripture will prompt preparation activity as we all purposefully wait for the in-breaking of God’s kin-dom, the end of oppression, and the time when all people will flourish to their God-given potential.
Use this worship guide to lead your congregation along the journey of bearing witness to the truth that we are all One in Christ: Equal in Dignity and Rights. And use these devotions to ground yourself in the teachings of our faith that name the truth that we are all One in Christ: Equal in Dignity and Rights.