Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.
It can be easy to miss Advent. With such a great rush toward Christmas – the whirlwind of shopping, decorating, and baking that starts seemingly earlier and earlier – we can be quite tempted to forget the importance of waiting. For that is a large part of the meaning of “advent” – not just the arrival of an important event, but the anticipation of that person or event.
It reminds me of my favorite quote from A.A. Milne’s beloved Winnie the Pooh: “‘Well,’ said Pooh, ‘what I like best,’ and then he had to stop and think. Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.” For me, that moment is called Advent! It is a moment of gratitude, of contemplation, and even of discernment.
This year we will enter into this blessed, generative time of waiting with an Adult Education Series entitled, “Pregnant with Meaning.” Lead by our artist in residence, D. Bracher, we will spend time in prayer and mindfulness with works of art, listening for what God is calling for us to “birth” in our lives this year. For God’s creative energy in our lives can generate more than children. Many new moments can and will be born to us, as individuals and as a congregation – ministries, vocations, relationships, awareness. Part of that waiting time, for us and for Mary, was and is about slowing down, listening to God speaking to our hearts through his creation, through imagination, through prayer. Watching daily at God’s gates, waiting beside God’s doors for the coming of the Christ in new and surprising forms.
I invite you to join us on Wednesday nights during Advent; to give this gift of Christmas to yourself, to God and to one another — the gift of waiting.
Yours on the journey toward Hope,