Reflections December 1, 2017

As We Wait


dan

As you know, today marks the beginning of December, the last month of the calendar year.  For the Church, Sunday marks the beginning of the Advent season, that time of waiting and anticipation that leads to the miracle of the Incarnation when God became one of us.

I love this time of the year.  I am aware that this is not true for everyone.  Each year, some approach Advent with a kind of dread because of all there is to do.  In addition to all of the regular responsibilities, now they have to add in time for decorating, shopping, planning for and attending parties, and all the rest.  For them, the season is spelled, “STRESS.”

I am aware that for some this Advent will be particularly difficult.  Sometime this year they experienced a loss… the loss of a loved one, the loss of health, the loss of a dream, etc. All the hype that goes with this season tells us we are supposed to be surrounded by people we love and who love us.  We are supposed to be full of joy and delight, but it is not so for them.  Instead of lifting them up, the season seems to add to their pain.

Even with all of that, however, I still love this time of the year.  I love it because it reminds me that it was while the world was going about its everyday activities… facing its stresses, dealing with its difficulties, experiencing its hurts and losses… that the Christ child, the Savior of the world, was quietly growing in the womb of an inconspicuous woman and preparing to inaugurate a kingdom of hope the world continues to find hard to imagine.

I love this time of the year because I am reminded that ultimately the meaning of life is found not in how well we make a living, but rather in whom our living is centered.  If you pay attention only to what you see on the television, hear on the radio, or run across in advertising, you will get the idea that “real living” is found in how much you earn, have, or the house in which you live.  But if you will listen to the words of the Christmas carols you sing, or open your heart during times of worship, or look into the faces of children, or the poor, or the marginalized, you will remember that regardless of what you have, “real living” is actually found in the One who was born in the humble surroundings of a manger stall.

I love this time of the year because it comes with an invitation to rediscover your real self.  You have to be careful.  It is easy to see all the “opportunities” of the season as just more burdens to be attended and marked off the “to do list.”  But if you make a point of trying to be fully present in each moment, you can deepen relationships, hear a whisper of hope even in a world gone mad, experience Christ in the lives of others, and in the process grow a soul. 

In the end, I have found that how we experience the Advent season is often determined not as much by the responsibilities we have before us or even by what has happened to us in life, but rather by the way we choose to wait for Christmas.

Rev. Dan Brown
Senior Pastor

 

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Contemporary Service
8:45 a.m. Fellowship Hall

Morning Prayer & Communion Service
8:45 a.m. Sanctuary

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11:05 a.m. Sanctuary

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