Advent is coming. I tell you this, not to panic you, but as a quiet invitation.
This time of year can be so busy with planning for Advent and Christmas, for those who work in churches and we who live close to them. Today, I invite you to sit quietly…as Mary sits in the photo above [see blog link above for photo]…and consider five things about Advent. They might be images, practices, hymns, anything you like. Just let the thoughts wash over you. Be peaceful with them. Be blessed with them.
My five Advent things:
- “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” — I love this song! Its minor key and over-the-top yearning lament appeal to me, especially as the days get so short. One Advent, while I was in seminary, I sat in front of a fireplace, journal in hand, praying this song and writing fervently to be open to God-With-Us, specifically God-with-me. Ready and willing to go with that . . . then . . . and today?
- U-words like Uncertainty, Upsetting, Unsettled, Usurped — Anticipation of God entering the world where I live is a shaky step off of the moving rock of what I think I know. Uncomfortable. Sometimes unhappy. And a lot unnerved.
- Waiting vs. Doing — I’m a “Wait-er” most of the time anyway. See Enneagram 9 for some understanding of that. So I ponder: How can I get about DOING the work of/in waiting.
- Candles — Advent ones, yes, and just lots and lots of candles, all the time. Mesmerizing, focusing, comforting, aromatic.
- Cold — It’s cold in New Orleans this week. Yesterday morning, I asked Siri, the iPhone know-it-all, “How cold is it today?” and she answered, “It doesn’t seem cold to me. It’s 43 degrees.” I answered back, “You obviously are not a Southern girl” and she replied, “Is that so?” My preferred antidotes to cold: cozy flannel, quilts, hot drinks, deep and true connections, and more candles.
Ten weeks from today, I will be two days away from my last Sunday as Interim Pastor at this church. We’ve been at this for over 2 years and a new pastor has been identified and will be voted on in three weeks — the second Sunday of Advent. The waiting for a pastor is almost over for them. We are all relieved about his imminent arrival.
I have been a pastor for 21 1/2 years. Good years, sometime even amazing years. For the first time as I leave a church, I am not being called to another church. At this time. What awaits?