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Advent Waiting

Advent, which begins Sunday, December 3, is one of my favorite seasons of the church year. In my family, growing up, we always had an Advent wreath on our dining room table leading up to Christmas. After Sunday dinner, I or one of my sisters, would read a favorite Advent Scripture while Mom and Dad helped us think about what these words meant: the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; the wolf shall live with the lamb...and a little child shall lead them; Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Becoming old enough to read the Bible out loud, without help, was a treasured rite of passage. (At least to me!) These are some of my favorite childhood memories and they were the beginning of a deep reverence for the ways God speaks to us through our sacred stories.

Now, of course, Advent has become a secular, commercialized phenomenon in which every brand name worth its linear footage on the shelves of big box stores has its own take on the Advent calendar. I've seen everything from whiskey and wine to tea and chocolate to cosmetics and pocket-sized toys presented in familiar arrays of 24 boxes or windows, to be opened one-a-day, until the national shopping frenzy culminates late in the day on December 24.

This is not at all what Advent is supposed to be! While I enjoy a good Advent calendar as much as the next person, Advent is more than counting down the days till Christmas. Advent is a season of contemplation, preparation and waiting - waiting for the dawn of God's justice, God's peace; waiting for God's hopes and dreams for our world to be fully realized. This year, with war in Ukraine headed for its second anniversary and war, again, in the land of Jesus' birth, those hopes and dreams seem especially fragile. Maybe this is reason enough to embrace the season of Advent, listening anew for how God speaks comfort and promise through our stories, seeing again a glimmer of light and warmth as the days grow colder and the nights longer.

Join us for worship on the Sundays of Advent as we light the candles of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love, sing our beautiful songs of Advent longing, and prepare for signs of God's new Creation.

On Wednesdays of Advent, we will gather on Zoom for prayer, Scripture, and guided reflections using the Advent devotional Come, Emmanuel. Light your Advent wreaths, take a break from the commercial hustle of the season, and join us for good conversation. Advent Midweek Zooms, Wednesdays December 6, 13, and 20 at 7:15 pm. Zoom links will be provided in the December E-Couriers. Pick up your Advent @ Home kit, including the devotional we'll use on Wednesday evenings, on Sunday mornings in the Gathering area.

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

With Advent hope,

Pastor Sue


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