This Season of Advent 2022
This morning we celebrated the First Sunday of Advent, the first candle of the Advent wreath was lit, and the lectionary readings were read from the pulpit, the sermon given, the choir and congregation worshiped God through word and song. It was a beautiful worship service. Yet it can’t just end there in that hour of worship, or in the remaining three Sunday services in the season of Advent.
Advent is indeed a season of anticipation, of preparation, of hope, of joy. It is a season that calls us to awaken to the movement of God’s Spirit in our midst. We are called to repent – to turn from the ways that make us less than we are capable of being, that diminish us, that break and wound our relationships with others, with God, with creation. That we might prepare our hearts to receive Christ anew.
Change and being the change, that the world needs, isn’t easy. It takes daily work. Advent is to be a season of looking deep within ourselves. For as the mystics of old and present day, teach us, that is the journey within that we find God, that we find our true selves and ultimately that we find our way to all of humanity and creation. Connecting to the light of Christ that is within us, enables us to connect to the light of Christ that is within everyone we meet. That allows us to transcend that which seeks to divide us.
This requires us to commit to the work needed to change. There are many tools at our ready, each person finds one more helpful than another: Regular participation in worship, scripture study (Lectio Divina), meditation, counseling/therapy, walking a labyrinth, 12 step programs, confession, forgiving and asking forgiveness, mindfulness, gratitude — are all ways of living into the Advent journey.
We often focus on when Christ will return, thinking then everything will be alright. But Advent calls us to awaken within to how Christ returns every day into our lives, seeking to guide us through the Holy Spirit. God is present in each moment of each day even though we may not realize it. We need to raise our consciousness to be able to sense and embrace those moments. Then can we truly live more fully into whom and what God is creating each of us to uniquely be. Then can we not only be transformed into a new creation ourselves, but become the change that God needs us to be for others, and for the world.
Don’t let this Advent season get lost in all the hustle and bustle of the secular world’s version of this time of year, of Christmas. Embrace this Advent season with an open heart — do the work of repentance — of forgiving and being forgiven. You are worth it!