Waiting in Advent Hope: A COP21 Reflection

It was the first Sunday in Advent, and I was waiting. Waiting for my plane from Budapest to Beauvais, France. Waiting for my bus to take me from Beauvais to Paris. Waiting for the metros and the shuttles to the COP 21 venue. Waiting for my train to the village north of Paris where I could finally drop off my luggage and unpack. It was the first Sunday in Advent, and I spent the whole day waiting. 

I’ve often reflected upon the symbolism and fittingness of COP 21 taking place during Advent, and my experience on Sunday underscored this. I am in Paris, participating in the COP 21 process, because I am waiting; because the world is waiting. Young people are waiting for an effective, global climate accord that will protect the future of our generation and of those to come. Poor and vulnerable nations are waiting for a just agreement that can help ensure the survival of their people and their land. The world is gathered in Paris this Advent, and it is waiting. But it is not waiting without hope.


Kyle, far left, with his colleagues from the Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice.

Several announcements and events have already taken place that are contributing to the hope of success at COP 21. The speeches from over 150 Heads of State on Monday were beautiful and moving. Announcements about further contributions to climate financing from developed countries were welcomed. A statement from the 43 most vulnerable nations of the world that they intend to stop being marked as victims and to take the lead on climate mitigation by moving toward 100% renewable energy by 2050 was inspiring. Indeed, hope is present at COP 21.

But the ultimate hope of the world’s waiting is not rooted in bureaucratic legalese or governmental announcements; it is in the incarnate Lord of all creation. Precisely because Christ took on the suffering of the world at Christmas in order to redeem it, the world has hope in the midst of its waiting. This is why the church waits during Advent–we wait because there is something coming worth waiting for. We wait in hope and we wait in action.

We wait in hope for the One in whom all our waiting rests.

You can talk directly with Kyle and others who are in Paris on Thursday, December 10th at 9 pm EST.  We are partnering with Climate Caretakers to host a webinar, “LIVE from Paris: An Evangelical Presence at the Climate Negotiations.”  See the Facebook event here and register here.


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