In Mark’s Gospel we read these words:

Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, saying,
“The Time is fulfilled! God’s Kingdom Dream has come near!

This year feels so different doesn’t it?  Because of the pandemic restrictions, we are suddenly NOT planning parties, family gatherings or travel. There are many of us who don’t have as much money to spend on gifts this year because of job loss or reduced hours, and some of us are worried about sick loved ones this year. Does this mean Christmas won’t happen this year, or be as “special” as we’d like it to be?

This is where “Advent” comes in. The word means “coming near,” and has long been the traditional season of watching, and waiting, even longing, for the “coming” of God’s beloved Christ-Child. We recall that Jesus was born not to a queen in a palace, but to a displaced family in the midst of a struggling world. So, for the four weeks of the Season of Advent, we learn how to wait, how to watch, how to be alert to the sign of God’s “coming near” in places where we would not necessarily expect to find God. 

This sort of waiting is not tedious, but full. It can be full of meaningful activities or practices of noticing:

  • Practicing a pause—learning to listen
  • Watching snowflakes until we see their uniqueness
  • Making simple gifts, and thinking of the recipient while we make the gift
  • Practicing a pause—to give our bodies a gift of rest in the midst of a busy day
  • Making time for others via social media
  • Learning something wise
  • Sharing what we have with others

What will you do to “fulfill” this waiting time…?

— Rev. Dr. Elisabeth Jones