A Pastoral Word
It is our first Advent season together as minister and church. And I am really looking forward to spending such an amazing and important season in the life of the church together with you.
There is just something about this time of year that gets me so excited. It is the waiting for the Christ child and the ritual of our Advent traditions that opens up possibilities of grace, peace, and joy. It is the unexpected glimpses of the Kingdom of God that fill our lives during this time of anticipation.
One of the traditions that I look forward to every year is the decorating of the Christmas tree in the McColl household. Each year, it is the same. We set the tree in the stand, turning it this way and that, just to make sure that it is straight. Once the tree is straight in the stand, it is time for the lights! We pull each strand of lights out of the box and plug them in to see if they work. Usually there are a few strands that are out and each year, we say we don’t need them for the tree. We should be okay without them. And every year, we make the annual run to the store to buy more lights. So needless to say, we are a little frustrated with the tree. Once the lights are on the tree, the garland comes next.
At this point in the Christmas tree decorating, we are looking at each other in frustration and wondering why we do this every year! Why do we struggle with the lights and try to keep the cats away from chewing on the garland?
Then we start going through the ornaments. It seems that for each ornament, there is a story and a memory that has to be shared before it can go on the tree. The Ocracoke Island Lighthouse ornament that we picked up on our honeymoon. The palm tree ornament that we picked up in St. Thomas when we were there celebrating Mike’s brother’s wedding. The ornament from Buchart Gardens from our vacation to Vancouver.
And then I realize that our tree has become a celebration of our life together as a family. And I realize that our tree has become a small timeline of great memories. And I realize that our tree is filled with love and joy.
On Sunday, December 3rd, we will be having our Hanging of the Greens service where we decorate our sanctuary for the Advent season. We will place the Advent wreath in its special spot and then place greenery in the windows. The crèche will be placed in front of the communion table and wreaths will be hung on the doors.
Then we will take a step back and realize that our sanctuary has become a celebration of our time together as a family. We will realize that our sanctuary is filled with love and joy. With each piece of greenery that we place in the windows or on our Advent wreath, we are preparing for the Christ child and opening up possibilities of grace, peace, and joy.
There is just something about this time of year!