The season of Advent is rich with tradition. When I think back to my childhood, I remember rituals of Advent like lighting the Advent wreath not only at church but also at our kitchen table. Each Sunday night we’d light the candles for that day, marking the four Sundays – days of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love – as we made our way toward Christmas and the coming of the Christ Child. There were other rituals that supported us in our anticipation of Christmas. Advent calendars, made by my grandmothers, invited us to pin felt ornaments on a felt tree or take one more candy off of the “candy calendar” as we moved toward the long awaited day. We hold fast to many of our much loved traditions just as we create new traditions that support and sustain us along the way. However we mark the days of Advent, my hope is that the journey through those days awakens our hearts, minds and spirits to the ways in which God responds to our deepest longings and comes to us anew this season. Our gospel reading from Mark encourages us to “keep awake,” to pay attention because God is about to do a remarkable thing.
Remember that we have Advent Table Tents available for you and yours to use at home as you mark these days of Advent. They will be available at the Christmas Tree Lighting on November 29th. You can also pick them up in the office OR request a set to be dropped off at your home. I’m happy to bring them by. I hope you’ll join us on Sunday for our livestream worship at 9:00. Please know that all are welcome to join the Wednesday Bible Study that reviews the scripture and sermon topic from the previous Sunday and reflects on the questions that are listed below. If you’re interested in joining us from 11:30 to 12:30 on Wednesdays, please notify the church office or Pastor Lori and we’ll send you the Zoom link. Drop-ins are welcome! Looking forward to being together on Sunday!
“But in those days, after that suffering,
the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light,
and the stars will be falling from heaven,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
Consider these questions:
- What are some of the Advent practices or memories that you cherish?
- How is Advent different for you this year in light of the pandemic? Does waiting, watching, preparing, staying alert come easily in these days or with difficulty?
- What do you perceive to be the longings or your heart and/or the longings of our community/our world this Advent?