From the General Presbyter
How do we keep Advent from feeling like Groundhog Day? You know, doing the same thing over and over. Answer, we don’t.
Yes, we can freshen up traditions, update language, use contemporary illustrations. But we are waiting, and waiting and waiting for God’s love to be revealed in the flesh. We are waiting for “on earth, peace,” we are waiting for “comfort” and all the things this season reminds us to watch for. The prophesies of Advent and ultimately the Christmas story is a reminder of God’s love for you and God’s love for me and God’s love for the world, regardless of how tumultuous it seems. It’s worth the wait.
That’s why we keep the narrative alive with our story telling, gift giving, tree trimming, lights shining – not only because it is beautiful, but because it is necessary. It may seem like “preaching to the choir,” but maybe it’s the choir that needs to hear it over and over. We can be joyful, but we can’t be complacent. We can celebrate, but we can’t ignore people in need. We can worship, but we also keep our faith in good shape with prayer, study and practice. There is work to do while we wait.
But, we are not just tapping our feet in anticipation, with a to-do list. We are also doing something far more important; we are living into hope.
Henri Nouwen wrote: “Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things—the weather, human relationship, the economy, the political situation, and so on—will get better. Hope is trust that God will fulfill God’s promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.”
Groundhog day is a good thing!