This being the liturgical season of Advent, I wonder what we’re all waiting for. For so many things, I suppose: for the end of this heinous year. For the lockdowns to be lifted, and for normalcy to be restored.
As always there is a bitter pill to swallow before we can hear the good news: things are not going back to normal. I do not mean that in the sense of the COVID extremists in places like the World Economic Forum, who are openly fantasizing about turning this bitter season into an eternal winter of drudgery and humiliation for all but a few. May I die where I stand before I ever acquiesce to such a “new normal.”
But sadly I also can’t predict that once the vaccine is fully distributed, we’ll be in the clear. The reason being: coronavirus isn’t our problem. It was only the window of opportunity for our global oligarchs to assert themselves and take the power they think they deserve by birthright.
This they did, but not in any way or according to any philosophy that did not predate the pandemic by many decades. Our ruling class has behaved according to ideals that it had already thoroughly adopted and done its best to broadcast worldwide from on high: achievement and merit are unjustly distributed, and so every human system that rewards them (especially capitalism) must become a thing of the past. Man is mere flesh and so his best hope is to extend the functioning of his body for as long as possible, irrespective of spiritual consequences.
It goes without saying that these are ideas I reject utterly: to put it in now-familiar terms, I will not live in the pod. I will not eat the bugs. I will not die alone. That, more than anything, has become the central mission of my life: resist psycho-spiritual attenuation and persuade others to resist as well. But I am guilty, as I believe many are, of thinking that some cataclysmic event will occur to deliver a decisive victory to one side or another in this fight. This is wrong. 2020 is a year in which the big, explosive events we anticipate—vaccine rollouts, national elections, the release of the long-awaited kraken—tend to morph into protracted and inconclusive stalemates. We expect the clouds to break; instead, the hum of electrical tension only increases overhead.
I suspect this is because we are already in the fight, and have been for many years without knowing it until recently. We want an apocalypse in the blockbuster movie sense, with the sudden assumption of the righteous into heaven and brimstone raining from the sky. What we’ve gotten, instead, is apocalypse in the original meaning of the word: a revelation. We have witnessed the unveiling of our elites as the grasping, bloodless, disdainful villains they have in fact become under the heady influence of their ugly ideas and their ruthless power politics. To the extent there are decisive moments and grand events in this story, they are behind us: what is ahead is a long task requiring patient, careful effort and unyielding courage.
And in fact, the real event we anticipate celebrating during this season—the coming of God’s anointed Christ to earth and the ushering in of a new age—had been looked forward to for centuries beforehand as an earth-shaking occurrence that would change the world in an instant. But when it came, few people noticed at first. The fame of Jesus grew over time, but the first Christmas did not look to many like the explosion of an old world and the beginning of a new one. It looked like small mercies and acts of desperate love on the fly, like a man of silent honor and his preternaturally serene wife hiding their new family from the predations of the state. It looked like a child swaddled under cover of night, rushed from Israel to Egypt and back again, and known for who he was only glancingly, by a very few.
God’s work unfolds in time, and until he comes again so must ours. Gradually, with dedication and without losing heart, we have to insist now on our own self-government, on our God-given freedoms, on the integrity of our bodies and our families. If we wait until lockdown is over to open up our businesses, our overlords will simply fabricate another cockamamie reason to shut them down. If we wait for some miracle to restore our election integrity, we will waste precious time that could be spent preparing for 2022.
Today, now—when you speak the truth to your censorious professor, or refuse to shut your business down, or march in support of those who so refuse—you are fighting the fight of your life. There will be no bolt from the blue. There will be tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, and on each one that God grants you breath, you must fight to be free.