Our Savior's Shared Journey
“Let's Go On An AdventChristmas Trip!”
The “world” goes a different way. In a wide swath of the culture, especially in America, it is all about “getting to Christmas.” Even some Christian Churches go that way, ignoring Advent almost altogether. Here at Our Savior’s, in the repetition of a centuries old tradition, it is about the waiting, the expectation, the journey. Joining with other denominations that celebrate Advent, we are given the chance to slow down, meditate, contemplate, pray, serve and give in a more thoughtful and intentional way. Advent is a time of repentance tinted with hope. Once upon a time, the “color” of Advent was the same as Lent; purple. That was meant to focus the worshipper on the sacrifice of Jesus, to emphasize the cross-shaped royal throne of Christ. Some years back the color shifted to a remarkable blue, adding a visual reminder of the hope that comes into the world at Christmas, in the “Christ Mass,” in the human touch of God-in-flesh among us. (“Mass” is the older word for a service of Holy Communion or The Lord’s Supper, where we get an actual experience of God’s grace in bread and wine. Do you see the connection to the “incarnation,” God taking on human flesh?)
There are special candles that are lit, bringing another visual reminder of the light of God that grows in our midst, another added each week to brighten our hearts during a time (at least here in the northern hemisphere) when the created world is getting darker. Those candles can also serve as reminders of the symbols of the faith prominent in the Advent Journey. The candles can also be used to remind us of key elements and characters of the story of the birth of Jesus, the Christ. They help “light the way” on this AdventChristmas Trip we take together.
In a world that emphasizes an economic approach to this time of year, your church offers you a different trip. While your church also finds it necessary to ask for a “strong financial finish” and extra funding to “balance the budget by year end,” I pray you can hear those requests as part of a shared pilgrimage of prayer and service for the good of your heart and the benefit of the ministry we share. The world around us asks for your money to make a profit and advance the economy. Your church asks for your support to make a difference in your life/ community, and to advance the Gospel.
There is a quite a bit happening in this journey with your church in Advent (see the details scattered all over the pages of this Messenger), leading us to Christmas Eve and the celebration of Christ Mass, Christmas, the Communion of the incarnation, the birth of Jesus. I pray you can approach those church events deeply immersed in your own prayers, your own devotional time, your own celebrations and contemplations of the meaning of Christ-with-us. I pray you can hear your church’s requests to be an invitation to a trip into our Mission, “To know Christ and to have others know him.” I pray you can find time and space to breathe a little this
AdventChristmas Trip and smell the rich incense of God’s love in the story of Jesus’ birth.
I am on that journey with you! Pastor Chris