Preparing the Way for the Messiah

Happy Advent, everyone!  And what better to kick off this first Monday of Advent than a little Moltmann messianic theology?

The messiah will come when it is possible because the way has been prepared for him.  This is the advice of the prophets (Isaiah 40).  Prepare the way for the Lord! Repent! Arise, shine! Lift up your heads! The messiah does not come unheralded.  He lets the gospel, through which he announces himself, go ahead of his coming…This does not mean that good deeds bring the messianic redemption any closer; still less does it mean that good deeds are themselves the messianic redemption. But it does mean that hope for the coming of the messiah will already be messianically active here and now.

To prepare the way for the messiah means living in the light of Advent and, together with this world, becoming open for his coming.  It means anticipating his coming in knowing and doing.  It means ‘now already’ putting forth all our powers, in order, if we can, to let something become visible of the redemption of all things, which the messiah will perfect in his days.

The Way of Jesus Christ, page 25

As I have said before, and as I said last night at Journey, Advent is a time of joyful anticipation.  This is why I’m an advocate of blue Advent rather than purple Advent.  Advent is not Lent, people.  We will do all that sorrow and suffering bit up right starting on Ash Wednesday.  For Advent, we will instead hang lights and greenery everywhere and light candles and sing songs of hope.  It is our sole responsibility this season to prepare the way, to put forth all our powers to let the light of Christ become visible.  There is no doubt that this is a difficult job.  Life is hard, the holidays are hard, the world is complicated.  (I confront this head-on over at The Hardest Question.)  But it is our job to hope.  And it is our job to put forth all our powers to make the light of Christ visible in this dark world.  As Walter Benjamin said, “Every second can be the little door through which the messiah can enter.”  We have a lot of seconds between now and Christmas.  How can we use them to prepare the way?


  1. Thanks for your words here and the piece over at The Hardest Question! It is easy to lose sight of the peace, love, hope and joy parts. For me it seems so much easier to define what is broken. Just watch the news or read a paper. It’s also seems like Isaiah, instead of sketching out detailed plans of how to get from here to there, prefers we use our imaginations to explore the endless options for making peace in our context. Instead of laying out a detailed strategic plan for getting from here to there, he points us to a baby and some extremely docile animals. It think that baby gets us from here to there, but it takes a little more courage, creativity and faith on our parts to see it through! Some random thoughts as I take a break from preparing next Sunday’s message!

    Grace and peace,


  2. Agreed, Michael. No blueprints, but a really good vision of where we need to be heading. It’s both frustrating and freeing, isn’t it?!

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