Dear companions on the way,
May we who are new and those of us well travelled find the stirring of hope as we enter into the season of Advent. The journey of Advent always starts with the imperative to Awake, or Stay Awake, which can feel alarming when many of us are running on empty at this point in the calendar year. And yet it is well past time for us to be Awake to the way things truly are and the ways things are meant to be. And there is the hope – the reminder that we are called to find in the rubble of empire and war a way to live out peace on earth. Advent seems more important than ever this year even if we do not have time or energy.
Here in the southern hemisphere we are already well into the bushfire season and much of Australia has already felt the terror of earlier than usual fires. Those of us so far spared are scurrying to get as ready as one can. For us personally the cost of living among tall trees and high on a hill is the vulnerability to storm and fire. And I see the photos on Facebook of my daughter and son-in-law visiting his family in the states and see them rugged up against the cold celebrating Thanksgiving and now watching the early Christmas lights. Somewhere in this mix I found time to visit my younger daughter on the east coast of Australia and experience the simple joy of joining in her daily life and seeing the beauty and purpose of her work and her home. And I look forward to having all three of my children, their partners and my grandchild, together for Christmas. What a wonderful stage of life to look with relief and wonder at three wonderful people and to like, admire and trust the amazing adults they now are. (And I certainly also experience many of the same fears, curiousity and laments that my same age friends express about their children!)
And our concerns for our own welfare fade before the images on the evening news and our social media feeds. If we do not feel the desire to Awaken for our own selves then we most truly need to Awaken to the state of the world for others and find hope for ourselves and for all – all peoples and tribes, all species and places.
If you do not have all the resources you need for your Advent journey please consider one of my courses. Firstly the course based on the Revised Common Lectionary which is for all and particularly for the preachers and worship leaders so that you can have your own experience of Advent while also preparing for your work as a worship leader. For this reason the study starts Monday 27th November so that you will be ready for the First Sunday in Advent.
You may also feel the challenge to explore more broadly the connection between the Advent of the Holy One and the universal gift of incarnation as expressed in nature and in humanity over the ages.
However you spend your Advent I pray that you know the dawning of awareness and hope, wonder and joy, and the desire to share with others, over this wonder full season.