My Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
By the time you read this, we will have lit one candle on our Advent wreath, asking Emmanuel, God-with-us, to ransom the captive and to teach us the ways of Wisdom. We have entered a season of expectation, preparation, and–I hope–some contemplation of what God has done for us in the Incarnation. We are waiting for the Nativity of Our Lord, the Christ-mass, even as the world around us is frenetically indulging in over-the-top consumerism and excessive consumption of all manner of delights that are seemingly designed to cause headaches and tummy-aches.
Cookies and candies and eggnogs and brandies are not bad, in and of themselves, and I’m not suggesting that we can’t enjoy them–in moderation! I would encourage each of you, however, to find ways to step outside of the Silver Bells and Jingle Bells Christmas Extravaganza during this season of Advent. Find some quiet time and quiet ways to slow down in the midst of the hustle and bustle and focus on the Light growing in the darkness with each candle lit on the Advent wreath.
Mary Beth Johnstone and I have worked together to provide resources for you to take Advent home with you and invite the daily visitation of Jesus there, as you prepare and wait for Christmas to come. We have provided a worship booklet that you can use with your Advent wreath at home with your household. Will and I light our wreath each morning as we pray the Daily Office. I have fond memories of my family lighting the candles and reading Scripture and praying before dinner each night in Advent. I hope you will find a way to make your own Advent wreath traditions come alive in your homes.
Holy Trinity will also be participating in the online Global Advent Calendar project of the Society of St. John the Evangelist. You can read more about that project online, click here to access. I’ll be posting images on our Facebook and Twitter feeds with the #adventword each day between now and Christmas, and I hope some of you will join me in posting your images and mediations on the daily Advent word.
We’ll celebrate a service of Advent Lessons and Carols at St. Paul’s at 6:00 on Sunday, December 11. And of course, we’ll be here each Sunday, preparing, watching, and waiting for that most wonderful “moment” when the Christ Child is born in our hearts again. We don’t join the rest of the world in singing Christmas Carols until that moment, because we are preparing our hearts. And when our hearts are properly prepared, the joy is unmatchable!
Please take time to read about our Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services elsewhere on the website. I pray that all our hearts will be ready for the visitation of the Christ Child on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and for the Twelve Days of Christmastide that follow.
Grace and peace and the blessings of the Incarnation to you all, Suz+