We come now to the season of Advent, weary from months of changes and uncertainty.
Advent is a season of waiting and watching, of expectation and preparation. Above all, Advent is a season of hope.
That sense of hope is expressed in a favorite Advent song, All Earth is Hopeful (ELW 266):
All earth is hopeful, the Savior comes at last!
Furrows lie open for God’s creative task:
this, the labor of people who struggle to see
how God’s truth and justice set ev’rybody free.
A focus of the season of Advent is preparing for the coming of God in Christ Jesus. Much of our attention is concentrated on the coming of God in Jesus at Bethlehem. At the same time, the appointed scripture readings for the Sundays in Advent direct our attention especially to the coming of God in Christ at the end of time. Both of those are important aspects of our faith life. But a third dimension that also deserves our attention is the coming of God in our lives each day.
For many people this third dimension gets the least attention in these days of COVID fatigue. One way of dealing with the weariness we may feel is by taking time every day to reflect on two questions which can help us be mindful of the coming of God in our lives each day.
How did God come to me today?
How did God come to someone through me today?
God is always present and active in our midst. An Advent mindfulness can help us to be especially aware of God’s presence in our lives and thereby deepen and strengthen our relationship with our loving God.
As the fourth stanza of All Earth is Hopeful puts it:
We first saw Jesus a baby in a crib.
This same Lord Jesus today has come to live
in our world; he is present, in neighbors we see
our Jesus is with us, and ever sets us free.
Even when we cannot see clearly the road ahead, our hearts and our eyes can catch the glimmer of God’s presence in our lives because God promises to be with us in the midst of all the challenges we face in life.
God of Promise, God of Hope, into our weary world, come.
In Advent Expectation and Hope,
Deacon Beth Barkhau
Pastor Alina Gayeuski
Pastor Wayne Matthias-Long