I dream a dream …
By Scott Baker
Dreams — they seem to speak quite uniquely to the season of Advent. Advent is the time of darkness when we are all awaiting the Light of the World to come and illumine us with radiance, warmth and love. Seasonally we live into it as well. Slowly we are making our way to the shorter days all the while waiting for the winter solstice when the light of the sun returns again. But during these dark hours we are left in the half-light of the world and in our lives. It truly becomes, an “already but not yet time.” During these dark hours we are given to more “downtime.” Time when our bodies are less active and, perhaps, we are inheritors of a time long past when our ancient ancestors found a certain solace in sleep. Besides the restoration of our minds and bodies during sleep, we do one other extraordinary thing — we dream. And dreams (and their influence on our lives) are what keep coming to my mind this season. I’ve had about half a dozen nodal dreams in my life. Not nightmares, but good, old-fashioned dreams that seemed to shape my waking reality. Synonyms for the word dream are vision, fantasy, delusion, hallucination. An antonym for dream is reality.
“When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, then were we like those who dream. (Psalm 126:1).”
The words of the Psalm were penned during a time of exile when the homecoming was a long hoped-for dream to come true.
What do you dream of? What so we fantasize about? What is a dream/fantasy? It is made up of things such as contentment, security, a life of ease, delight, joy, happiness, serenity, health, well-being and well fed, and relationships all in order, especially with God and neighbor.
Advent is all about the hope of the dreams of a people coming true. Of course, the reason we live in such limbo is that we live an existence of hope. It is founded on the presumption that God is faithful. It is founded on the assurance that because God has done it (it being, come among us before) God will do it again, to bring about the consummation of God’s kingdom. If we say the opposite of a dream is reality, then one can only hope that what God promises will be vastly different than the world we live in. This year that outside force comes in the hope of a vaccine for the virus.
But you know as well as I that there are far more things we need saving from than just a virus. There is far more to be put right with the world than just restored freedom to be like we were. There is far more to be restored than how things had been before COVID-19. Our dream is that God will fulfill our wildest dreams to be the vision of Isaiah or John in his Apocalypse. When there will be only vegetarians (i.e. nothing will give/lose its life for another), when there will be absolute peace, and all creation will be content, healthy and at one with the Lord. Or as John tells us, that place where there will be no more pain, no more tears no more sighing, no more sorrow but only life everlasting in the nearer presence of our God.
This Advent we are called to dream once more that God, who stooped to come and save us from this world of darkness and sorrow, will come again in power and great glory to make all our wildest dreams come true.
THE REV. SCOTT BAKER is the pastor of Emmanuel Episcopal Church. Contact him at 757-562-4542.