Do you love Advent?
Do you yearn for it and feel a sense of rightness about blue paraments and minor key hymns? Do you feel like you have come home when you come to church during Advent and get a break from all of the tinsel and brightness of streets and stores already decorated for Christmas? Does it speak to your soul?
If I am honest, my answer is: sometimes. Sometimes I need to be reminded that we in the United States like to rush from celebration to celebration without time for the discomfort that can be such a part of life. Sometimes I need to sit with the yearning and waiting and not yetness of Advent if I am ever going to be ready to truly open my life to the birth of the Christ child.
Other times I can’t stand it. I had an older friend who told me that as he got older and weaker, Advent became painful for him. He said that he lived every day in the waiting and yearning and needed the joy that comes from Christmas. Every “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” was a reminder that he desperately needed “Joy to the World.”
Being part of a community of faith means that we are not all feeling the same things at any given time. The church year gives us a framework for the unfolding of the great story of God with us: waiting and preparation in Advent; birth of a miracle at Christmas; the stories of Jesus’ life and ministry in the first part of the calendar year; the reality of suffering and sacrifice during Lent, culminating in Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion during Holy Week; the great good news of resurrection and new life at Easter; then the longest part of the year, as we engage with what it means for the church to live out God’s call to us in the light of Jesus’ birth, life, death, and resurrection. It is a gift that we go through this story together year after year.
So come to church and participate in the growing light of the candles on the Advent wreath. Listen with other people of faith to the stories of preparation and yearning.
And when you go home, bolt out “Joy to the World, the Lord is come” if that is what you most deeply need. It has all happened already. God is already with us. It is all miracle and gift and life. May you know God’s unending and all-encompassing love in every moment, however you may be feeling in any given moment.
After more than a month of coffee/office hours, I am making a change. I will still be at Morning Call every Tuesday morning from 8-10. I will also be at Nola Beans on Harrison on Wednesdays from 2-4pm.
I am discontinuing the time at the church, as it has had the fewest people and meeting at the church does not work well for people who don’t have a key. However, if you’d like to meet me at the church sometime, just let me know and we will set up a time to meet. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Grace and peace,