As we enter into the darkest time of the year, we notice how sunlight fades earlier and earlier each day. The short days are colder and we long for light and warmth. Our faith has a tradition to help us through this time - even as we prepare for Christmas. The Christmas season is 12 days long (the 12 days of Christmas); in our eagerness to celebrate the joy of Christmas, we tend to think of preparation for Christmas in terms of decoration, presents and parties. The season of Advent is truly a preparation for and anticipation of Christmas.
Advent is the season that recognizes the darkness that surrounds us. Advent is the season that knows we are desperate for warmth and light. Advent helps us to scoop up the broken shards of our loneliness to create a mosaic that reflects the love of the holy within us. Traditionally a candle is lit each of the 4 Sundays before Christmas. Each week has a theme: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The scripture readings reflect that the people of God have been longing to know God’s presence in times of peril and pain. For centuries, God’s beloved community has been anticipating the return of the Holy. As Christians, we remember not only this longing (and its arrival in the person of Jesus, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas) but also that we are longing for Christ’s return and the completion and fulfillment of God’s justice and peace to be known and lived on earth as it is in heaven.
As we ready our homes for a Christmas like none other, let’s remember that this season (Advent) is built to recognize that we have not yet completed God’s peace and justice throughout the world. Utilize the tools of faith to recognize how you feel and what you need. Prepare your heart to welcome the Prince of Peace. All of God’s folk are in need of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love - may we prepare together for the coming Light!