Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
This Sunday marks the First Sunday in Advent, we are entering into an extremely impactful liturgical season. The advent banners will slowly but surely unfurl, the Advent wreath will blaze forth with increasing intensity with each passing week, and the treasured rhythm of this season - the greening, caroling, the pageant - will draw us inexorably toward the great celebration of the incarnation.
The word Advent comes to us from the Latin, veni, which is all about the coming of Christ, the all-important arrival of the Divine in this earthly kingdom.
This of course is no small matter. People of faith believe that Jesus’ birth quite literally changed everything. We are called upon to appreciate this gift appropriately, to live our lives in response to this humbling expression of God’s goodness. The days ahead give us an opportunity to not only prepare for our celebration of Christmas, but also prayerfully consider the magnitude of God’s love.
And there is one more thing, in these days we orient our hearts, minds, and spirits in such a way that we are continually discerning the way in which the love of Christ is “coming” to us.
The music, the scripture, and certainly the people we meet and fellowship with… in all of this, we discover the glory of Christ’s ongoing incarnation. The Spirit of Christ can’t be boxed up until Christmas morning, but is continually breaking into our lives.
And in light of this deep truth, I would like to suggest that we add just a few letters to the word, Advent. This year, I would be grateful if we could transform Advent, into a kind of inspirational Advent-ure.
Yes indeed, in the days and weeks ahead, let’s agree to join together in a shared quest. We can rightly embrace each day with an adventuresome spirit, expect to uncover the riches of God’s glory, and be enriched by the whole experience. The gifts may eventually be piled under the tree, and while I certainly wouldn’t want to take anything away from the importance of the anticipation, I think we can all agree, that every day truly is a gift. Enjoy the Advent-ure!
Question for reflection: Here is one of my favorite questions to ask, what is your favorite Advent hymn?
Yours in Christ,
God of love and mercy, stir up in us a deep gratitude for these days of
anticipation and preparation. In this sacred season, may we come to
a deeper understanding of the ways in which our greatest hopes are
fulfilled in your Son. We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.