I just can’t believe it’s Advent…… already! Wasn’t it just the 1st of August yesterday and I was giving a first message here? WOW! It’s gone quickly! And we’re at the beginning of the New Church Year. And you know what that means….. that’s ADVENT ! Christmastime! And we all know what that means…….scramble to put up the decorations while the weather is still cooperating shopping…. parties…. cooking…. more shopping…pageants, more parties…and on and on and on…society urges us to hurry and spend….BUT…..
Scripture and tradition beckon us to slow down and wait! Though we are tempted to act otherwise, now IS the time for slowing down. As with the faithful of the ages, we too gather in the darkness of winter to wait for the Light! In the dead of winter, we need one another, and we need signs of that the sun (and the Son) will come again. Like the ancients of old, we too gather for courage and hope that the sun would return, and we gather each week to hear the word that does not pass away in the darkness.
The season’s readings give us the promise of a Savior. In the first week of Advent we are reminded of our desperate need for a God to restore and save. The gospel of Mark warns us, “Stay alert, keep awake!” You can only do this if you are slowing down your pace and being watchful.
In the second week, we are urged to reorder our lives…..stop with the shopping, parties and spending already…….Isaiah tells us that “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low, and the rough places a plain.” Man, at the rate our lives are just blazing along, we’re gonna need an engineer to straight us out…how can we reorder our lives, paths and priorities? As John the Baptist is that engineer..he prepared the way of the Lord, and so do we…not in haste, but in love and with longing.
Week three, God’s turning our mourning for us stuck in winter, into joy and laughter as we await the Light…John tells us of the One who brings light and life to us. And week four, Mary is the focus as she ponders the words of the angel Gabriel, and with confidence says…”Count me in” to the continuing story of salvation.
With texts and traditions as guides, these challenge us who are not good at embracing darkness or slowing down to do just that….it is in the slow pace and waiting that we learn about ourselves and others.
Perhaps there is no better gift to teach our children and ourselves, than the ability to wait!
Christmas IS coming: it’s just not here………………….. YET !!!!!!!!! Amen.