Sunday November 29, 2020: The First Sunday of Advent

In spite of commercial culture focused on Christmas, usually about what to buy, buy, buy, and get, get, get, the word for this season, Advent, comes from the Latin word “adventus,” which means “coming.”  It is the first Sunday of the new liturgical year.

And what is it that is coming?  Hope.  Notice how we talk about hope. We hope for something. And what is it that we hope for, especially in this year that has seen so much death as well as division?  We hope for healing not just of the body but also of the spirit.

We hope for the healing of people we know and love.  We hope for the healing of the hatred and anger we have seen in our Nation this year.  Although we may only pray for those who are ill in body, we can do more for those who are ill with bitterness and resentment.  Hope is not simply a passive noun but an active verb.

Prayer for the Day

There are times, O Lord, that we don’t know what to pray for

    Because we feel the pressure of so much on us;

There are times, O Lord, that we feel hopeless and despairing

    Because we are overwhelmed by fear and grief.

We cry for the hope that only you can give

    As we await the promise of your Advent in our lives.

In the name of him who came to give us hope,

    Even Christ Jesus our Lord, Amen.

Thoughts for the Day

A prison cell may well be compared to Advent. One waits, hopes, does this or that – things of no real consequence – the door is locked and can only be opened from the outside.

                        -Dietrich Bonhoeffer, letter from Tagel prison 1943 (1906-1945)

Anticipation lifts the heart. Desire is created to be fulfilled, perhaps not all at once but in slow stages.

                        -Luci Shaw, Canadian religious writer

In you, O Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame.

In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me and save me.

Be to me a rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me, for you are my rock and my Fortress.

                        Psalm 71: 1-3