Pastors and Staff
Pastor Ken Gibson
The word advent is defined by Webster a couple of different ways. The first is advent with a small “a“; as the following; (ad-vent n.) the coming or arrival of something awaited or momentous. Then there is Advent with a capital “A” as follows: (Ad-vent n.) The birth of Christ. I think that both definitions are actually needed to capture the wonder and gift that advent truly is, both as advent and Advent.
For me, the advent with a lowercase “a” represents the joy and excitement we have in waiting for the birth of Jesus. The Advent with uppercase “A” is the event itself, an event so important that all of time since is noted from this birth.
And for me, this year advent with a small “a” is truly a time of waiting for a special birth, especially since I wait with anticipation for the birth of a second grandson, as daughter Lauren is due to deliver early in this new advent season. Now the whole world, I am sure, will not hence forth mark time at the birth of our newest grandchild, yet it is significant to me and my family. I will rejoice at the gift of this child, and in the same way we rejoice again that the whole world experienced the first Advent, capital “A”. Our family has always included the wonder of the Advent season and the joy of remembering Christ’s birth and the gift of Christ’s coming means for us and for the world. Lauren, especially, always loved the waiting as much as the actual joy of Christmas. Where Joy, on the other hand, truly relished in the joy that comes with Christmas Day! Both are good and both are important.
Yet I must share that time changes things, and I am reminded that for some the “joy” that should be felt at this time of waiting can be troublesome and maybe even painful. I will not try and make it all sound and seem easy and in some way suggest that such should not be the case. I have over these past 25 years of ministry and 58 years of life come to realize that people are where they are and sometimes the best we can do is try to just be with them in that space. To sit and wait with them as it were. To share in the moments of hurt and to care enough to maybe just, be still enough to hear them as they breathe.
So what I am asking us all to consider is, as we “do” advent this season, if we might all take some time to be still enough, if not to hear and feel someone else breathe, then to make time to do such for ourselves. Our mid -week Advent service with Holden Evening Prayer is one place that we can do such together as a community of faith, and as persons in need of some stillness in our own lives. In so doing then, might we come to the place where the Advent, uppercase “A” is the fulfilling gift of life and light so intended. Advent waiting is for a purpose and may we find Joy in both the wait and the birth.
Happy Advent to all and to all a Christmas full of The Gift!
Pastor Ken Gibson
All is Calm. All is Bright
by Pastor Amanda Bergstrom
All is calm, all is bright . . . except when it’s not all calm and bright. Things, life, the world, everything is not usually all calm and bright, but in the stillness and quiet, in the scripture and songs of tradition and resistance, and even in tentative greetings of hope and joy- the calming peace of Christ and bright light of the world somehow breaks through all the unsettled chaos and the dim dreariness- and for a moment all might be calm and bright.
I love and long for moments that give us a glimpse of the promise of the Christ child. In this season of Advent, waiting and preparing for Christmas, I often find fleeting calm and brightness in the reflected light of fresh snowflakes, the calm of a warm place to rest after being out in the cold, the decorative lights that adorn trees or buildings, and in the candles we will light in worship.
During weekend worship services, we’ll pause for the lighting of the Advent wreath, one candle to visually mark each of the four weeks of the season.
During Wednesday evening Holden Evening Prayer, we’ll process with a large candle and we will sing these declarations of faith: “Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world; the light no darkness can overcome;” and “Great and mighty are you, O Holy One, strong is your justice strong your love.” And during Christmas Eve worship services, we’ll sing of that silent holy night, where all is calm and bright, as we light candles and hold the light of Christ in our hands.
And in that song and action we boldly declare that even when all is not calm or bright in our lives or the world, there is a holy wonder in the birth of Christ, and that wondrous night of his birth still makes a difference in ushering in God’s peace today.
May this season bring moments of calm and brightness, of peace and joy, of quiet reflection, and of joyful sounds of silence and praise; may this Advent and Christmastime reorient our lives to the promise of Jesus’ birth.
Pastor Amanda Bergstrom
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