One of my favorite authors, Gail Ramshaw, wonderfully describes Advent realistically and, yet, with plenty of hope. She writes:
“Advent is totally out of sync with the North American secular calendar. The secular calendar turns all of December, and increasingly November as well, into….a month of revels, a continuous party to end the old year and bring in the new….this orgy of celebration is called by the name of Christ, and it is carols about Jesus’ birth piped into the malls on December 1st that stimulate us to spend more money. By December 26, Christmas is gone, and Valentine cards appear.”
She then continues: “Advent is a time for the Christian community to practice hope…we all need to practice hope…so that when misery comes, and it will, we know how to call hope up in ourselves and within the community.”
And she adds: “Advent asks us to keep practicing hope. Remember the poor, stand with the unemployed, visit the mourners.”
Gail Ramshaw concludes: “We Christians know where our hope finally lies. We hope in God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. We can help one another hope this time of year….we huddle together in the dark and chill, awaiting the life of God…we keep one another company as we anticipate the arrival of the angel, announcing the good news.”
Well said, Gail Ramshaw.
My friends, let us look forward to this Advent Season with hope and anticipation of our God who came to us over 2000 years ago in the birth of the baby Jesus will be reborn in us this Advent season. May we be reminded that we are loved, forgiven, and empowered to go out into the world in Christ reflecting, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the love of God for all creation.
Christ’s Peace, Pastor Steve