The Advent lectionary sometimes includes Jesus’ comment about signs and wonders that will announce his Second Coming. (See Matthew 24 as an example.) Those omens will include natural disasters as well as human-caused catastrophes. These dark, foreboding omens signal world-ending events God’s people might expect. Today I offer a slightly contrarian view: That some of our contemporary signs and wonders might indicate reasons for hope and courage.
Back story: I am one of those people who actually read packages. Boxes, bags, packets, tubes, cans and bottles—all of them usually include printed matter. Most of the words announce the contents of the package or attract possible purchasers. But I’ve noticed that there seems to be a trend towards using packaging also to promote good in the world. Like bright billboards, these containers tell buyers, users and readers (!) that this product or this company is more than mildly invested in the welfare of the world, a purpose that extends beyond the production and selling of goods!
This phenomenon came to mind recently when I examined the wrapping sheet around a roll of *premium toilet paper. I quickly realized that this company is serious about its capacity to address the world’s needs. According to the wrapper, this toilet paper is 100% bamboo and includes no inks, dyes or scents. 50% of the company’s profits are donated to impact-partners who build sanitary toilets and water systems around the world.
This is one example of the hopeful, Advent-ready signs and wonders that seem to be emerging in the world of contemporary commerce. As you read the packages that hold the stuff you purchase, look for both proclamations and invitations regarding hope in these times.
And yes, of course: The Advent lectionary does the same!
*The brand is called “Who Gives a C**p.” It’s an Australian company whose social entrepreneur owners really want to save the world, “one wipe at a time!” Good reasons to agree with their claim: “This is not your average toilet paper.” (https://whogivesacrap.org/pages/our-impact )
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