Welcome to Advent ...
Advent is the 4 week season of the Church calendar that precedes Christmas.
The roots of the tradition are buried deep within the earth itself ... coming from the reality of the ancient, agrarian world. In the northern hemisphere - the light has been fading for some time when we arrive at the end of November. The harvest has been gathered and the pre-scientific world had every reason to wonder if the light would return - if the earth would warm and crops would grow again. Our bodies remember this rhythm ... many of us feel sadder and more anxious, tired and even fearful during the dark months of November and December.
The return of the light - Winter Solstice, aligns with the Christian promise (the adventus) of the baby. Gayle Boss writes, "The early Fathers of the Christian Church read the ebbing of light and heat and vegetable life each year as a foreshadowing of the time when life as we know it will end completely. That it will end is the rock-bottom truth we sense deep in our primal bones every December, and it rightly terrifies us. To their and our abiding fear of a dark ending, the Church spoke of an adventus: a coming. Faith proclaimed, When life as we know it goes, this year and at the end of all years, One comes, and comes bringing a new beginning."
The season of Advent is a time to lean into fear, and to remember the hope that lives, even here.
This year, Advent feels particularly prescient. There is so much that has felt heavy for so long and so much we're hoping for, just around the corner. May it be so.
I hope you will join us this season as we move through Advent 2020, remembering that new life always begins in the dark.