Welcome to the New Year!
No, I have not forgotten the month of December. According to the Christian calendar, the new year begins with the first Sunday in Advent. This year, that was November 27.
Furthermore, Advent is a holy season in which we are invited to be still, to pray, and to remember. I realize that this invitation stands in diametric opposition to the excesses in extravagance that the world encourages at this time of year. But please know that Advent came well before “Black Friday” and all that Wall Street and Madison Avenue hold so dear. Advent is about gift-giving, but it is about a gift that you will never find in online catalogues or at the mall.
What we are called to remember and pray for during these four weeks is the threefold promise that God has made to the world. First, it is about preparing our hearts and minds for the birth of a child, who will be called Emmanuel, “God with us”. Secondly, this child, before he dies, declares that when the time comes, he will return in glory to judge and rule the cosmos. Finally, there is the promise that in the meantime, right here and right now, the Holy Spirit is already at work in the world. The reconciliation of God and creation through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is already underway. Advent is the season in which we joyfully embrace all of the above.
These promises of God will be our primary focus here at Trinity throughout the season. In worship and in prayer, in preaching, anthems, and hymnody, we will recall the true meaning of Advent, right up until that moment when we gather on Christmas Eve for the great celebration.
We will also add an opportunity for keeping this holy season. On Wednesday evenings, November 30, December 7, and 14, I invite you to a simple supper at 6:30 PM here at the church, followed by an hour-long program and concluding with the brief night office known as Compline. Making use of guidelines offered by a group calling itself “The Advent Conspiracy”, we will discuss the themes of 1) Worshipping Fully, 2) Spending Less/Giving More, and 3) Loving All.
Lest we ever forget, Jesus really is the reason for the season. I hope that we will all keep that truth in heart and mind in the coming weeks and will encourage those around us to embrace this truth as well.
Faithfully in Christ,
Rev Rob Banse