Sunday, November 27th: Advent begins

 From St Andrew’s Episcopal Church, Elyria    :     December Carillon (Newsletter)

ADVENT

If Advent were a place, it would be one of those regions that you drive through on your way somewhere else. We rush through it with our eyes on Christmas, hoping, waiting, preparing, anticipating, doing all of those Advent things which ready us for the coming of the Christ-child, for the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. But do we ever pause to recognize the beauty of the place itself?

Once, driving from my parents’ house in Wales towards our home near London, I came across emergency signs alerting me to the fact that the main highway was closed up ahead. I could not get home the usual, 70 mph way; I had to divert through the country towns and villages to wend our way slowly home. Frustrating, yes, and it took three times as long as usual. But I soon came to realize how much I usually missed, passing by on my headlong hurtle home.

We even at one point, rounding a bend in the road, found ourselves looking in astonishment at that enigmatic stone circle, Stonehenge.

Advent’s purpose in the Church Year is to point us toward the coming of Christ. It gives us time to prepare a place in our hearts, minds and lives for the arrival of Emmanuel, God with us. It carries us toward the joy of the manger at Bethlehem, the dawning of a new light in the darkness of midwinter, and the glory of the final coming of God’s kingdom on earth.

It used to be said that it is as blessed to travel with hope as to arrive.

This Advent, then, I invite you to join me in a few detours along the way, a few pauses in our preparations, a few rest stops in unexpected places:

 The Advent blog

Most days in Advent, I will be offering a reflection on one of the Daily Office readings, or on another Advent theme, via my blog, which is easy to find at www.rosalindhughes.com

 Advent Sabbaths

On Friday evenings from 5-6 pm, beginning in Advent, I invite you to join me for an hour of Sabbath refreshment and renewal in our peaceful church sanctuary. This will be a time to prepare spiritually for the coming of Christ, not only at Christmas, but in the midst of our everyday lives, our usual journeys. We will begin and end with prayer; the time in between will offer various spiritual practices and opportunities for rest, inspiration and exploration of Advent. You may come for all of the hour or for some, to fit your need and schedule.

 Who knows what we may see as we travel together in hope, expectation and with eyes wide open through the uncharted country of Advent?

1 Corinthians 1:3

Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This seems a good way to begin this series of Advent meditations. The idea behind them is to create space for reflection and the increase of peace during this time of busy preparation and often fraught expectations and emotions. They will be based on daily lectionary readings, celebrations of the saints who have preceded us, or seasonal occasions. The verse quoted above is from today’s Revised Common Lectionary for Sunday.

I hope that my reflections may at least occasionally be thought-provoking, but they are not intended to be contentious; I invite you to offer your comments, queries and corrections, should you feel so inclined, in the comments sections. Peace, my siblings in Christ.

Peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ

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