What If, an Advent reflection — Marchaé Grair, USA

Our help is in the name of the Eternal One, the maker of heaven and earth. – Psalm 124:8

‘What if Martin didn’t stand up?
What if Rosa didn’t sit down? …
What if Maya didn’t speak out?
What if Langston Hughes didn’t write it down?’

In India Arie’s song “What If,” she asks what would have happened if Black change-makers wouldn’t have sought liberation. I love how the chorus connects this curiosity with a call to present-day action.

‘We are the ones we’ve been waiting for
We can change the world
Our love can change the world’

In our current political climate, I witness people searching for the next change-makers who will save us all. I even find myself reading and scrolling through Facebook trying to identify the next great hero instead of wondering what kind of hero lives in me.

Advent is a time when we think about the coming of Christ and the promise that this arrival brings. Waiting is a key tenet of the liturgical season.

But the danger of Advent is resigning to inaction as we wait.

Some treat Advent as the time we wait for the one who will save us; however, Advent is the time we wait for the one who gives us the blueprint to save ourselves.

We already know the ending to the story, and thankfully, Emmanuel will come to show us the way. The coming Christ will speak truth to power, even when it challenges those in power. The coming Christ will embrace those who would otherwise be discarded and disregarded.

‘God with us’ is the compass. It is up to us to not let the promise of an eternal heaven distract us from our responsibility to strive for a collective salvation and liberation on earth.

What if I let my actions in the waiting honour the spirit of your coming? I can’t wait to find out the answer.

Marchaé Grair (they/she, @marchaegrair) is a storyteller, spiritual director, teacher, and facilitator engaging hearts and minds at the intersections of spirituality and collective liberation.

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