Advent CandlesDo you feel it? Can you hear it?

Underneath the often noisy, always hectic rush to Christmas, it is there. Quieter.  More subtle. But certainly persistent.

A yearning. A longing for a world that is different from the one we live in. More fair, more just, more like what we know it can and should be.

A sadness, even suffering, because in spite of the insistence that it be so, sometimes this time of year feels neither happy nor joyful, neither calm nor bright.

In the church year, the four weeks leading up to Christmas are known as ADVENT.  Its name comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival.”  In this season, we anticipate the coming of the Christ child, the Light of the world.  We watch, we wait, we prepare, we expect, and yes, we yearn and we long for something better.

Our theme for this year is “For Such a Time as This…” It is a line from the story of Esther, a young Jewish woman who became queen and ended up being able to save her people. This is one of the stories we will hear on the first three of the four
Sundays of Advent. All three are from the time of exile, when the Hebrew people were (or anticipated being) uprooted from the land God gave them and taken to live in exile, as aliens, strangers in a strange land.

Like us today, the Hebrew people knew all about yearning and longing, sadness and suffering. In the face of that they could only do some soul searching, taking stock of the injustice of the world and an honest look at their own complicity in that injustice. They asked, Where is God in this? How then shall we live? How do we move forward? There was even the question, If this is the way the world is, why have faith? Why choose God’s way?

During this season of Advent, these questions will be our questions as we do the difficult, in no way tinsel-y work of honestly preparing ourselves for the birth of Christ.

We are not called simply to celebrate the coming of the Light of the World, but to more deeply and fully commit to God so that we can be light-bearers, in big ways and small ways.

May each of us, carefully and prayerfully consider how we have been called—as individuals and as a congregation—for such a time as this…

– Pastor Lori