Happy Thanksgiving! This newsletter will reach you earlier than usual as our Tablet “elves” have been given the day before the holiday off--thanks to Talia Terhune, Marcia Ruhl, Darliss Eitel and Carol Reeder for their help sending out the Tablet each month. We appreciate your faithfulness and are grateful for each of you!
The turkey and pie leftovers will still be in the refrigerator the 29th , when we at church will turn our eyes and hearts to the Advent Wreath and begin a new season. And so Advent and a new church year begins! Our Collect for the first of Advent reads:
Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in
which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer p. 211
In his book, Listening To Your Life, Frederick Buechner writes that “all of the paradoxical themes of Advent are compressed into that handful of words...They all but deafen us with their message at one and the same time of sin and grace, justice and mercy, comfort and challenge”. They also bring to light the paradox of who we are as human beings and where we are—somewhere between the darkness and the light. He goes on to say “that is where we are as Christians, not just at Advent time, but at all times. Somewhere between the fact of darkness and the hope of light. That is who we are”
I must agree. We live at times in the light and also at times in the darkness. Advent comes at a time when our natural world is giving way to the darkness and our lives begin to close down a bit. It is a time to take a breath and perhaps sit for a moment, allowing that darkness to bring us some peace and stillness. Try it for a moment in the early morning or evening. The Christmas mania that is already upon us can easily take over if we don’t take a few moments to quiet our hearts and prepare for the coming of the light; Jesus, the light of the world, the infant who comes to save us, but also the Christ, who will come to each of us on our last day. We are called to make space for him, here and now, preparing our hearts to receive the light of Christ.
I must admit that I got caught up in the whole Facebook argument about Starbucks coffee cups and the “War on Christmas”! So silly….the culture that believes Christmas is about decorations in the town square and reindeer and wreathes on coffee cups is what is undermining Christmas. We don’t need all that to prepare for the coming of Christ. In fact, it often draws us away from taking the quiet moments that we need in order to prepare for this event. So please, tone down the Christmas music in the mall, take Santa off our coffee cups and don’t decorate your stores the day after Halloween! THAT might actually enhance Christmas, not destroy it. We “Keep Christ in Christmas” by observing the season of Advent, caring for the poor and homeless and giving gifts where they are most needed.
As we move from darkness to light, I pray that we may all keep our focus on sharing the love of God with our families, friends and neighbors, for that is the true meaning of Christmas and the way we most honor God’s gift to us in Jesus Christ.
Advent Blessings, Karin+