Last evening, Cliff and I sat in front of the fire after dinner and listened to Gerard Chiusano’s Maranatha, a compilation of Advent music. Our tree twinkled in the front window; lights hang in other windows; manger scenes are dotted around the house among the collections of Santa Clauses and angels.
We felt, you could clearly say, melancholy, remembering Christmases past. This is the first year in more than twenty years we haven’t held Advent and Christmas services. We knew in May, when we lost the space where we’d held services for ten years, Advent would be difficult if we hadn’t found a new space for our community.
And yet, Advent comes. We lighted the first of the Advent candles last weekend; this Second Sunday of Advent, we will gather our community to feast and laugh and visit, and we will light the second candle.
Maranatha, we long for your peace. Maranatha, we long for your mercy. Maranatha, we long for your coming, O God.
Hope doesn’t need a building.
I realized, last night, watching the fire and listening, with or without a building, I could still write and still post the Advent meditations as I do each year. I’m a little late beginning, but I need the practice of sitting quietly, letting my fingers ponder on the keyboard, as my heart ponders.
We have all been impacted by these changing times. Some have suffered physically, some emotionally; many have suffered from financial stresses. Some have mourned family members caught in the line of gunfire or bombings or rough seas trying to escape the bombings. Fear and terror and grief have stalked our world in so many ways and in so many places.
And yet, again, Advent comes with its message of hope and healing.
Hope has never been an easy journey. A new birth has never come without suffering.