Dear Partners in Mission:
Sunday November 28th we began the season of Advent once more. The first Sunday of Advent is New Years day for the church. A celebration that begins a time also of preparation. It was not that long ago that Advent was intended to be a penitential season. A time, like Lent, to take seriously our sin and brokenness, our separation from God. To repent and prepare for the coming salvation brought to us in the Christ Child. Because of this history when I served in the parish Advent was a time we brought back the rite of corporate confession of sin and absolution for the beginning of worship.
The reality is after the years we have just spent I doubt any of us need too many reminders of our brokenness and sin. Our civil society and its division demonstrate that daily. And the onset of the “omicron” variant of Covid-19 comes as news that seemed almost inevitable just as my youngest children receive vaccinations. And so in this Advent I am choosing to focus on seeking Joy. Taking time daily to lift up my head as Jesus counseled us in Luke’s gospel this past week. Challenges will come but in that time we are told to “stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
So take time to seek Joy this Advent. Knowing our redemption is drawing near. Joy that God’s abundance is for us yet again. As we give thanks for successful fall stewardship campaigns, for generosity in difficult times, for the ability to be in worship together safely or new connections that come by connecting online, there is Joy to be found because God is faithful to God’s promises. So this Advent I pray that you might lift up your heads, light a candle, and remember we wait for the Messiah.