Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It seems each year that Christmas comes a little bit earlier. This past September, as soon as back to school items were cleared from store shelves, Halloween took precedence. But hidden there behind the pumpkins and candy at Target, there were Christmas trees on display. In September!
We don’t know what to do with ourselves during those few months of downtime between Labor Day and Halloween. And between Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas. If we aren’t constantly moving on to the next big event, it feels like wasted time somehow. Except as a church. The church continues to celebrate the season of Advent—a time of purposeful waiting and expectation. Advent is a time of knowing what is to come, but not rushing ahead just yet. This year Advent begins on November 29.
That day and the next three Sundays, all the way until the December 24, we will be patient. Even as schools and workplaces have Christmas parties and gift exchanges, as a church we will proclaim that there is value in waiting, in hoping, and in exploring the mysteries of how Christ comes to us.
This year, St. Paul’s will hold three mid-week Advent services: December 2, December 9, and December 16. These will take the form of dinner church. Many times in the Gospels, we see Jesus sharing a meal with his disciples and other followers. Gathering around a table brings people together in ways that few other things do. We will gather together from 6:00 to 7:00 (Come late if you need to!) and prepare a simple dinner together. Everyone will be able to help either cooking or setting the table. Then, gathered around a meal, we will consider scripture and sacred story together. All ages will be welcome to share in the conversation. Then, as Jesus did with his disciples, we will share bread and wine (or grape juice), in a foretaste of the feast to come. Then, everyone helps to clean up, and we will be finished by 8:00.
So this Advent season, consider taking a few hours a week to pause and wait with us!