Advent Greetings Lord of Life!
We are now in the new year of the church calendar, sometimes called the liturgical calendar. The liturgical calendar is broken up into different seasons. Each season is a different length of time and has a different color associated with it. The color for Advent is blue. In the past, you may have seen purple used instead of blue. Both purple and blue are used to represent Jesus’s royalty. However, blue has recently become more prominent in order to distinguish it from Lent, which is also purple. Blue reminds us of the colder, darker nights we experience in the northern hemisphere. It also implies a connection to the darkness of the sea before creation from which all things were created and the parallel to the waters and darkness of Mary’s womb from which our savior was born.
Advent is a time of watching and waiting as we anxiously wait for our coming savior. With Christmas just around the corner and snow flurries in the air, it is easy to get caught up in our excitement and forget that Advent also challenges us to remember all those who are suffering, those for whom Jesus came to set free. For those who go without, Christmas can emphasize the things they lack, like warm clothes, food and housing. Christmas can also be difficult for those who are separated from the ones they love because of tension, estrangements, or abuse, or because they are ill and in the hospital, or because their loved ones have died. The holidays can be a chaotic and complicated time, full of a variety of emotions.
This is exactly the type of world in which Jesus was born. Mary was an unwed mother, carrying a baby that didn’t belong to the man to whom she was engaged. She was forced to travel while pregnant because the occupying Roman Empire wanted to take a census. Then, after having just given birth, she was forced to flee to Egypt with Joseph and her newborn to avoid a new law ordering the death of all infants. Jesus entered the world as an infant during a very scary and harrowing time.
No matter how messy, frightening, or depressing our lives are, Jesus is right there coming to us amidst it all. The Christmas story is a testimony to how Jesus comes to us not in the peaceful, joyful times of our lives but amidst all the confusion and stress. There is nothing in our lives that can keep God from wanting to be right there with us.
As your pastor, I pray that God will grant you a peace that suprases understanding during the stressfilled holidays. I ask God to comfort those who are celebrating alone or separated from their loved ones. As we watch and wait for Jesus to come to us now in this time of Advent and again in glory when he establishes his kingdom upon the Earth, I hope you are able to feel the love and eagerness of a God who would give up Heaven in order to be our Emmanuel, “God with us.”