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A Message From Our Pastor

Advent and Waiting

It’s Advent. It’s not Christmas yet! I find myself telling myself, my children, and maybe even some of you that this season (as I struggle not to sing Christmas carols during worship) I shall spend time in quiet anticipation instead of joyous celebration.

Why take time for Advent? We all know Christmas comes earlier and earlier to our consumer culture each year; as soon as the Halloween decorations are down, the Christmas decorations go up. Christmas carols have been playing in stores and on the radio since November 1st. Why not just jump in? Why not sing “Silent Night” along with the crowds over and over again?

For me, there are several reasons to observe Advent and to wait for Christmas…

1. Advent reminds me to take time to wait upon the Lord. So much of my life is spent rushing from one thing to the next, that when I have to wait I usually get frustrated and impatient. But there have been times that my life that have been about waiting – waiting for my boyfriend to return from long trips to faraway places like South Africa, Australia and Argentina, waiting to learn whether I was pregnant each time, waiting to find out whether our baby would be a boy or a girl, and endless hours of waiting on bedrest to be sure that baby would not come too soon – waiting to wait! I am sure there are many times in your life you have had to wait as well. Advent gives us a chance to learn how to wait prayerfully and expectantly with God.

2. Advent helps me recognize how special Christmas really is when it comes. Reading the Biblical passages about the expectation of a Savior and learning how all of creation was longing for Jesus, helps me to see what an amazing event the Incarnation, God in the flesh, really was and is for us, even today. When I sing songs like “O Come O Come Emmanuel” instead of “Joy to the World” in the weeks before Christmas, I get a sense of what it really means to have God come to earth to be with us.

3. Advent slows me down. Doing a special devotion with my children when we light the Advent candles each night, setting up our decorations after Thanksgiving instead of before, watching and waiting, help to keep me in a reflective mood instead of a frenzied one.

I have to admit, I don’t usually wait all the way until December 24th before I start playing my favorite carols around the house, but I do always play Handel’s Messiah all the way through before I start to listen to Bing Crosby and Dean Martin on my stereo. And I try to wait, and to wonder. How about you? Let’s take time to watch and to wait together this Advent, and then, on December 24th, come to church twice – at our normal 10:30 am time and then again at 7 pm to celebrate Jesus’ birth – Emmanuel, God-with us. Thanks be to God!

See you in church!

Fear Not
Dianne