We in the Mid-west have come to rely on the changing of the seasons. For us, the out-of-doors has become a panoramic, surround-sound, message board whose changing scenes orient us to time. But lately nature’s warning indicators have been playing tricks on us. What happened to that gradual cool-down of Fall; the falling of the leaves—that we could count on to prepare us for the falling of the snow? It’s like we have grown sluggish, expecting a bit of a “snooze button” from nature and then, almost without warning, the snow is falling before the leaves! And here we are, with rake in hand rather shovel-ready! I guess it’s true, “Time and tide wait for no one.”
Fall is my favorite season. But I don’t feel in the least bit short-changed in having gotten a Fall that is better measured this year in hours than weeks, or even days. After all, it gives me a good excuse to have failed in getting all—well, any—of my leaves up for the season. (Francis, you’re making me look bad!) No, I am ready to move on!
I know that winter is here, like it or not. I know that means it’s time for Advent and all that goes with it. Advent Movie Night, The Hanging of the Greens, Advent Wreaths, The Children’s Christmas Pageant, Holiday Helpers, Christmas Carols, Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion.
It’s not just the beauty of Advent worship that I’m looking forward to. It’s the message of Advent. It’s the message of hope; the message of love; the message of joy; the message of peace. Oh, I know, I know. I’ve heard them all before. But I need to hear them again. I need to hear them now—it can’t wait. I need to learn to hear them any time, anywhere. And, so do you! These are messages that ring out in our world daily, if we but choose to listen and watch for them. (Even in Disney movies!) They can be heard against the backdrop of any season. But somehow, we have become more conditioned to listen for the messages of Advent when the days are cold, the nights are long and when the snow begins to fall.
So, bring it on! Let the angels begin to sing. Light the candles. Share generously with others. Sing the message of “Peace on Earth and Goodwill to Humankind.”
As a child, I hated those “Do Not Open Until Christmas” tags that were often on packages under the Christmas tree. Shucks, I still hate them! It seems that, at least this year, we have been given a reminder, that our God might just be the kind of God who doesn’t want us to wait any longer; that our God might be inviting us to go ahead and take a “peek” at the gifts that God simply cannot wait to give us. It’s time to “unveil” the message of Advent.
I look forward to another Advent and Christmas Season at St. Luke’s! I look forward to the time we will have to gather together, to share in the warm fellowship and the joy that is always ours, but that is especially ours in this season. I hope that you will be a part of what is sure to be a Blessed Season as we “focus our hearts and minds on the worship of our God!”