In the north, we are fast approaching the gloomiest and coldest part of the year. The days are a twilight grey and the darkness comes early. Outside, people hurry home in the dim light of streetlamps, through the puddles and with their faces turned away from the rain and the wind. The long bright days of summer seem almost unimaginably far away.
But in the midst of all that dark and gloom, there’s a rumour. It’s just a whisper, but it’s gaining speed and power. I’ve heard people talking about it.
The word on the street is that something’s coming.
A Saviour, they say. A Saviour who will be Christ the Lord.
I don’t know if it’s true. It’s an awe-inspiring thing to think about, though, isn’t it? I look out on this city that I love, and I see its poverty and its sectarianism and its drug and alcohol problems. I look at this country that I love, and I see the people who are voiceless and the ones who would deny their right to a voice. I look at this world that I love, and I see war and injustice. I look at our brokenness and I find it difficult to imagine what sort of person such a Saviour might be. A King or a Queen? A great political leader, a President or a Prime Minister? A person of great wealth or of great parentage? A person with education and charisma and intellect, someone who will make us all sit up and take notice?
But haven’t we already tried all those things?
I don’t know. I don’t.
I think, though, that if this Saviour really does come, whomever he or she is, we might all be taken by surprise.
Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the Earth to the ends of heaven. But about that hour and day no one knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert. For you do not know when the time will come.