Preparing for the Future
An old Chinese proverb says, “If your vision is for a year, plant wheat. If your vision is for ten years, plant trees. If your vision is for a lifetime, plant people.” To build a future, we must fill people with hope and equip them with the resources to get the job done.
In Advent, God builds a future by painting a picture of what life can be. The prophets tell us that the bleakness of the desert can be a place of life with springs and refreshment and that tools of war can be a means of producing food. God does not build the future through coercion, but through an invitation to embrace a vision and believe it’s within our grasp—to hope in the future he has built.
But Christmas also reveals hope rooted in a real person, and God’s promise to remain with us becomes part of the human story. Taking the lessons of the season to heart, we come to believe God’s words—that what was created is good and that here on this earth, justice and peace are meant to reign. During Advent, as we wait in joyful hope for our Savior, we remember our own birth into the Christian community.
Jesus’ birth and our birth into his life through baptism are a living link to the work of creation and its fulfillment. The future that God shapes is as much formed by how we live as it is through the record of Jesus’ life. Aligned with the grace of God, we see what life can be like when hearts of stone are turned into communities of hope and when places of death are turned into oases of forgiveness. As each generation labors to bring God’s work to fulfillment, we use this time to prepare for decades to come.