This morning I was at a big old church in Princeton while visiting friends for the weekend. I opened my bulletin and saw that it was the last Sunday in Pentecost and I was like, “whoa!”
Christmas is coming.
And so the sermon was about this place we’re at in the calendar year, where we’re about to launch into a season of hope and expectation but we need to prepare ourselves with reflection on why we’ve come to this point: Christ’s birth in a stable was necessitated by the brokenness that he needed to repair in the world. That brokenness is still here; we’re still a mess, and evidence goes to show that we’re not making great progress towards repair.
I’m looking forward to advent wreaths and new candles next Sunday. An excuse for more gingerbread cookies and hot cider. But to be honest, I’ve never been a die-hard Advent fan (I’m more of a Lent girl). I’m thinking about taking it seriously this year, though, and I might be able to pull that off if I reflect throughout Advent on the reasons for the season. If I think throughout our journey towards hope about how desperately we need that hope, not just about how much our retail stores are exploiting the holiday season for better sales.
Maybe my cynicism about Advent in past years has been blind to the fact that there is meaning in the season, and there is a desperate need for the love, hope, peace and joy we celebrate when we light the candles every week.
Christmas is coming. Thank goodness.