Below is what I wrote for my church’s newsletter.
This Advent season we have been journeying toward the manger in Bethlehem as we re-enter the story of Christmas and hear it again with fresh ears. We join the angels in proclaiming the name of the Savior in the world, we rush with expectation with the Shepherds, we offer our own gifts of thanksgiving and praise with the Magi. It definitely is an exciting time in the life of the Church.
But we all know that, Advent can be one of the busiest times of the entire year.
Our calendars fill up with plans that are generally made well in advance or according to family tradition. Sometimes it feels that we are planning our lives away trying to coordinate the right amount of time with family and friends. On top of that there are lights to put up, trees to decorate, gifts to wrap (and unwrap) and miles to travel.
But in the midst of this busy season, we are called to wait, we are called to reflect, we are called to prepare for the coming of the Christ child. We all know the story for I imagine we have heard it since our youth and every Advent after. Encapsulated in the birth accounts of Matthew and Luke are words or great power and beauty, words that call us to wonder and remember.
However this Christmas for many people, it will be a time of mourning. This might be the first holiday without a special loved one. Holidays have a way of recalling to our minds the good times and the lasting memories that will sustain us until Christmas comes around again. We will recall their spirit and the way their presence will be missed. This is especially true for the families of the Newton, Connecticut tragedy. Our hearts and prayers go out to those families. In one senseless act, the families of those lost will never be the same again; the holidays will bear a new meaning this season.
As we live in a world marred with evil and hurt, may we remember the promise that is found with in the manager in Bethlehem.
May we remember that Christ tells us that “blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”
May we join with the angels and say “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.” (Luke 2:14-15 NRSV)
Rev. Evan M. Dolive