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The Minister’s Musings

The week prior to Halloween, my husband and I were shopping for some items when we came upon the “holiday aisles”. Here it was the third week of October and the costumes were on sale, Thanksgiving had a small endcap of decorations and, taking prominence, were aisles of Christmas decorations. We just sighed as we knew the season was already upon us.

Don’t misunderstand me. We love Christmas in my house. The day after Halloween, our daughter is one of those who blasts Christmas carols and starts decorating. After Thanksgiving, the decorations on the entire first floor of our home get packed away and replaced with Christmas. We love to sing carols, visit with loved ones, and enjoy the season. But …

Maybe it’s because I am an introvert or maybe it’s from decades of working within the church, I long for the quiet of Advent at this time of year. As much as I love the hustle and bustle, there is a sense of calm and quiet anticipation as we light the candles of the Advent Wreath. Come, O Come, Emmanuel. God with us. This sense of longing for the coming of God to dwell among us is often felt by those who need God’s presence in their lives the most. The darkness of the season is a reminder that God can be found in the midst of sorrow and distress. In the quiet and stillness of Advent, we are reminded of Jesus coming to be with us without fanfare or celebration. And we wait to welcome him again.

That God has not yet returned, is not too difficult to realize if we look around us and watch the news. It is a reminder that hatred knows no color, religion, gender, or geographic boundary. We pray for Jesus’ return in order to bring peace to a troubled world. “O, Come, Desire of nations, bind all peoples in one heart and mind.” We should remember, however, that God expects us as the church to live as though the Reign of God were already here. We are to feed the hungry, forgive our enemy, rejoice always, and not worry about tomorrow as God reigns in our lives. That’s not always easy as we watch the violence in the world which we have no control over. What we can control is ourselves. Remember, the Prince of Peace calls us all to live in hope and joy and kindness.

Singer/Song Writer, Marty Haugen, has an Advent song entitled, “God of Day and God of Darkness”. One of the verses reads: “You shall be the path that guides us; you the light that in us burns. Shining deep within all people, yours the love that we must learn. For our hearts shall wander restless ‘til they safe to you return. Finding you in one another, we shall all your face discern.”

No matter how you celebrate the season – with quiet and calm or joyous carols and celebration – I hope you remember to spend time searching for the path that guides us all. I pray that you can see the face of God in all those you meet. But most of all, that you find rest and peace in the one who has loved us all into being. Happy Advent.

And, as always, let us keep each other in prayer. Take care of yourselves and one another.

God’s Blessings and Peace, Rev. Carrie Orlando