Insights from Alfred Delp

One of the problems about preaching through Advent is that we are constantly talking about two advents, outlining two hopes, and setting our spiritual compass on two different horizons. On the one hand, we want to preach about the first Advent. We want to pit all our wit, creativity, prayerfulness and speech against the whelming tide of commercialism and nonsense which can sweep Jesus from the heart of his own story. On the other hand, as Bible students, we want to acknowledge the Bible’s own far greater concentration on the second Advent. On a verse for verse basis, the bible has far more to say about the return of King Jesus in glory than it does about baby Jesus in the manger.  And yet..

This morning I found myself reading some words by Father Alfred Delp, a young Roman Catholic priest executed by the Nazi regime in December 1945. Rarely have I read words by  a man so able to keep the two horizons together – and I pass a small selection of them onto you now:

They grey horizons must grow light. It is only the immediate scene that shouts so loudly and insistently. Beyond these things is a different realm, one that is now in our midst.

Advent is the promise denoting the new order of things, of life, of our existence.

Just beyond the horizon the eternal realities stand silent in their age-old longing.