From the Pastors Desk ........
When I was a kid the Advent season signaled a waiting period. When I became a father, my wife and I repeated a blended mix of traditions. For example, I brought out a hanging calendar passed on to me from earlier generations. Names are seen sown into the fabric. Our daughter’s name, Claire, was added. Each date is a stitched pocket containing a daily treat: some years coins from the world, other years candies, small plastic farm animals, marbles, etc.
Another example. Claire’s mother brought out the Christmas tree early in Advent. She didn’t decorate it right away. Lori allowed some waiting time before filling the house with things “Christmas”. The decorations came slowly over time. And then, not until the end of Epiphany did all things come down. Things remained up throughout The Season of Light.
Blending family traditions isn’t easy. Today Claire is a yoga instructor. She finds her clientele increases in December and says, “More than any other month, people find themselves stretched and stressed.” Yoga is about learning to breathe and being present in the here and now. Her culture, I am learning, is in no rush for Christmas.
How is Advent carried out in your home? Some reread the Celebrate Scripture Insert or read ahead. Some create wreaths. Some simply use four ordinary candles. Years back I committed five minutes daily to watch the candlelight. In week 2 of Advent, I added five minutes so that by week four I was sitting with twenty-minutes of candlelight doing nothing but watching it. Will a quiet habit of watching the light prepare you for Christmas and life ahead? My experience is yes. Will the Holy Spirit instruct you or bless you in those minutes of solitude? I think so.
The Thanksgiving Holiday is past. My snow tires are on! I think I am ready for December. There will be snowstorms to count and things to wrap. Soon it will be Christmas and New Year. It will be February before another newsletter from OSLC. Let us remember each other in prayer. Let us remember our Lord. The New Testament instructs us to keep practicing what we have been taught and to give thanks daily. This season we recall Christ was born in a lowly manger and that Christ will come again in the clouds. He answers those who call upon his name. He knocks at the door and waits to be invited in. He is called Emmanuel, for He is with us. He says, Come follow me, and you who are weary, come to me and I will give you rest.
It can become a busy season. Ask periodically: Have I (we) become anxious? And if anxious, can we remind each other to remember Christ said to be anxious about nothing. I can imagine him saying, breathe, and saying, thank you God for the birth of your light, the Son of God. It is the message we are called to announce to the world.
To each: may God bless you richly in the seasons ahead. Happy New Year. Happy Advent.
– Pastor Peter