Saturday, December 09, 2006

Advent 1

This first week of Advent has been so full and rich, and sometimes dark, that it seems like ages since Advent began last Sunday.

I'm supposed to be working on a sermon for Advent 2 tomorrow, but some stuff rattling around in my head needs to come out.

As we began preparing for Advent some weeks back at church, I kept coming up blank trying to remember last year. We talked about a family Advent event and I couldn't remember it. I could remember the year before, why not last year? Oh yeah, I was in Texas with Dad.

As we began to think about who to invite to light the candles in the Advent wreath this year, I was trying to remember who we invited last year -- not only to avoid duplication but also to make sure we represent the diversity of our congregation. And I could only remember who lit the candle Advent 1, why couldn't I remember who lit the candle the next weeks. Oh yeah, I was in Texas, attending Mass with Mom and Dad on Advent 2 and attending Mass with Mom alone on Advent 3.

Last night at Ryan's Christmas program, I commented to my husband that it was a really good idea to combine the youngest two classes of kids on the stage. They did it last year, he told me. I missed the show last year because I was in Texas.

And, while I was in Texas, I had a rich and wonderful time with my family -- luxurious time as it turns out -- before Dad's surgery. So I have no regrets about the things I missed here. I just keep having these odd memory lapses because I keep forgetting I have no reason to remember much of Advent from last year.

I preached on Advent 1 last year. I remember that. Tomorrow I preach on Advent 2 and my mother will hear me preach for the first time (although I think she counts hearing me deliver Dad's eulogy as hearing me preach). I told the senior pastor that maybe I would just keep up the sequence, preach Advent 3 next year, Advent 4 the next. Then he added, and Christmas Eve the year after that.

But what I really stopped my sermon prep to say is this: I am really enjoying Advent this year. Last Sunday's sermon was exquisite with its images of things brittle turned supple. Serving communion to families at Vespers on Wednesday was many things, including a joy, but it also seemed to be a way to counter the culture, a way to say, this is what it's all about, this gift of grace that you're sharing together. THIS is how to prepare for Christmas. And last night I got to see Ryan's Christmas program and hear him sing Mary Did You Know, another reminder of what it is we're moving toward as we anticipate not only Christmas but the future. And throughout these happenings as well as all the life lived in between there has been great love, there has been tenderness, there has been quiet candor, there has been friendship and fellowship and laughter -- even a few tears. This week has been rich in life.

I pray I can do justice to it with my words for Advent 2.

1 comment:

RevErikaG said...

Hope it went well yesterday...I'm sure it are preparing room by remembering and appreciating...messy Advent!