CELEBRATING ADVENT IN THE MIDST OF COVID-19

The vibrant incantation ‘O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel…,” (Isaiah
47:9) has always been a favourite as the church begins her liturgical year. This joyful expectation
of Jesus the messiah and saviour of the universe though the same as always, now demands a new
way of understanding as we struggle through life amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. This pandemic
has brought the entire world to a standstill, causing distress and anguish, misery and sorrow. The
pandemic further made us witness people losing their jobs, places of worship being closed down
and, in some cases, people having been laid to rest without the deserved respect.

The dawn of the advent season challenges the sad and sombre reality of Covid-19 with its
powerful message of hope and expectation. During this liturgical season, we await in joyful hope
the birth of Jesus our Lord and King. We sing with confidence and trust in God that the expected
Jesus will come and ‘ransom captive Israel.’ This is our hope, this is our trust, this is our faith,
that Jesus who is to be born, will set us free from the bondage of fear and despair as we face this
global pandemic. We are thus the new ‘captives of Israel’ awaiting to be ‘ransomed’ by God
through Jesus. I am sure covid-19 has not spared many of us from experiencing anxiety of some
sort during these uncertain times. It is amidst these feelings of uncertainty, and fear, that the
message of advent hits home and assures us that we are a hopeful nation, hopeful Christians, and
hopeful people. This hope demands that we place our worries in the able hands of God. It further
demands that we reach out to others: to listen to their cries, to comfort them in their distress, to
feed those who are hungry both physically and spiritually and above all to be messengers of
hope, setting our communities ablaze with the joy and peace of the expected Jesus and re-echo in
the words of the prophet Isaiah who said;

“In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it… they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation
shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war,” (cf. Isaiah 2,1-5).

My Dear Brothers, Sisters and people of goodwill, we have nothing to fear for we are with the
Lord in all circumstances. Let us continue to live in hope and trust coiled with strong faith like
that of our Father Abraham and above all, to pray unceasingly.
Finally, it is important to always remember that we belong to a powerful God who is in control.
We should thus remain determined and steadfast in faith so that the infant Jesus can come and
‘do something new’ in our lives. Let us also not get tired of remaining watchful and vigilant,
directing all our energies to affecting positive change in our world by being symbols of hope and
love. We should also widen our eyes to see the little things the Lord continues to do for us on a
daily basis. He continues protecting and guiding us, providing and sustaining us… for these and
many more, we ought to give thankful praise to our God as we continue singing with trust and
hope, ‘Veni, Veni, Emmanuel,’ ‘Ira, ira Emmanuel,’ ‘O kom, O kom, Emmanuel.’
Happy Advent Season to you all! May the Lord renew our strength and may He hear our prayers,
particularly for the end of Covid-19 as we enter the dawn of the New Year 2022.