Advent is upon us, and as we have been hearing about in the readings for the last two Sundays and in the Rector’s sermons, this season is a time in which we prepare our hearts and our lives for the coming light of the Son of God, Jesus Christ, by recognizing the darkness that his light will dispel.
Christmas is about the coming into the world of the one who can save us; Advent is a time in which we re-learn that we need to be saved.
Darkness is a theme I have touched on in the last two sermons, and is a recurring theme through Advent. Not only are we in a dark time of year - a time that can be difficult for many as the days grow drastically shorter - but we also live in a dark world. We don’t need to look far to find examples locally or globally of this darkness, the disorder in the world that can hurt so many: house fires, floods, earthquakes, armed conflict, anger, pride, idolatry - all things that we see and that make our hearts cry out for justice, peace, and hope.
Christmas will be the time in which we celebrate the coming of the one who can deliver this world from this disorder and darkness, but we cannot celebrate if we don’t first acknowledge and know the thing from which we long to be delivered. And so Advent is a time in which we face the darkness in this world and within our own hearts trusting that the child we will find laying in a manger in Bethlehem in just a few short weeks is the one who can heal, restore, and bring order.
If you have a few minutes you should read this article published on St. Andrew’s day in the New York Times.
What I find most compelling about the author’s article is that she reminds us that so much of the glitz and glam of Christmas: the oppressive lights, music, and forced joy and cheer that begins in November, robs us of a much greater opportunity for a far greater joy to find a home within our hearts.
"But life isn’t a Disney Cruise. The tyranny of relentless mandatory celebration leaves us exhausted and often, ironically, feeling emptier. Many of us suffer from “holiday blues,” and I wonder whether this phenomenon is made worse by the incessant demand for cheer — the collective lie that through enough work and positivity, we can perfect our lives and our world."
May this season of Advent be a blessing to you and your family. May you face the darkness with a sense of anticipation and hope for the greater light that is soon to enter our lives.