December is such a busy time of year. In addition to the regular busy-ness of life, there are holiday parties, family gatherings, Christmas shopping, school programs, concerts and plays, hundreds of Christmas movies to watch, and more fun holiday activities and programs than there is time in the day or the month. In the midst of all of this flurry of activity, the church quietly begins a new year by lighting a candle and reminding us to watch and wait.
Every week during the four weeks of Advent, we light a candle on the Advent wreath as we watch and wait for the coming of Christ. The light of the candles reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world. We light them during the darkest time of the year and watch them grow brighter each week as a reminder that Jesus comes to shine light into the darkest parts of our lives and our world.
Jesus comes to be with us, shining light into the darkness of our loneliness and fear. Jesus comes to bring hope, shining light into the darkness of our despair. Jesus comes to bring love and forgiveness, shining light into the darkness of our isolation and shame. Jesus comes to bring justice, shining light into our unjust world.
During Advent, we breathe, we light a candle, and we wait for the coming celebration of Christmas. We prepare for the celebration of the birth of Jesus who brought the light of God’s love into the darkness of our world. During Advent, we breathe, we light a candle, and we wait for the coming of the fullness of God’s Kingdom. We work, we pray and we hope for the day when the light of God’s love and God’s justice will shine brightly throughout the earth.
During the mad rush of holiday preparations, I cherish the gift of the Advent season that reminds us to stop and wait. More than a count-down to Christmas, Advent is a quiet and peaceful reminder to stop, to breathe and light a candle and to turn our eyes to the coming light.
Pastor Heather Grell