Last week Pastor Carol wished us a happy New Year’s as we prepare to enter the season of Advent. And now it’s official. It’s here, and we’re in! It’s a complicated time as we look forward to celebrating the Christ Child’s birth with family, friends, and community, and exchanging gifts on Jesus’ birthday. But it is also a time of looking back and remembering the oppression of the Jewish people that began before their escape from slavery in Egypt, and arose again during the Babylonian Captivity, and their occupation by Rome. This makes their deep yearning and prophesying for a Messiah that would be a Savior and a Deliverer of the Jewish People all the more understandable.
It also helps us understand the Second Coming as a twin theme of Advent. Since Jesus’ death, the Jewish people have often been a nation without a home, suffering further oppression and unwelcome in country after country around the globe, through the Holocaust and into our modern age. Sadly, both pre- and particularly post-election they are also joined in this country by many marginalized populations that, like the historic Jewish people, now fear for their very existence. Now more than ever it is time, as Paul tells us, to wake from sleep and take positive action in whatever way we can.
Not to end on a downbeat, let me end as I began, with a hearty Happy New Year! May you find in reality, as we symbolize in the lighting of the Advent Candles, all the hope, peace, joy and love within you and both express them to those around you and share in those others. In these troubling times, the bonding of community, family (blood and chosen), and friendship become even more important. Prayers of blessing to you and yours this Advent season and beyond! May we leave our wanderings in the desert and enter a new Promised land together, with a promise of deep caring for all people, stewardship of its creatures, and tender preservation of the land and its resources.
Your intern, Lauren