Advent reflections from Rev. Rebecca Hendricks
I am always surprised at how quickly Advent seems to arrive. Wasn’t it just a few weekends ago we were giving away our garden produce? On the Sunday before Thanksgiving at coffee hour, we just happened to remember it was time to change the banners, put up the Advent wreath, and get out the service leaflets for lighting the candle. I think we all looked at each other and said something along the order of “Advent already? How can this be possible!”
Not only am I surprised at how quickly Advent comes, but also how quickly it seems to pass. I think it happens somewhere right after lighting the second Advent candle—then suddenly, it’s almost Christmas. While our culture sees Christmas merchandise displayed before Halloween and is easily caught up in numerous seasonal activities, the Church calls us to slow down, step back, and to observe the season of Advent, the coming of the Christ-child into our lives.
During Advent, we are called to mindfully keep watch. The Christ child cannot reside in our hearts and our lives if we have not prepared a place for him. During this season of Advent, we will hear readings from the prophet Isaiah calling to us “Prepare the way of the Lord!” We are called to prepare for the incarnate God to come into our world, to be God with us – Emmanuel – to teach and heal and challenge and walk alongside us as we alternately dance or crawl through this life.
We will hear John the Baptist proclaiming these same words “Prepare the way of the Lord!” As Christian people, we are also prophets in our own time. We are God’s messengers, the very definition of a prophet. As Christian people, we each are called to preach the Gospel of Christ, doing so by our words and actions. As Christian people, we are called to do this in the comings and goings of each day, right here, right now, right where we are.
During this advent season, how do we look within ourselves and within our communities to grow and bear good fruit? What pathways are we asked to make straight? What are we asked to raise up? Where are we called to smooth the way? Let us watch and listen carefully and deeply. Let us hear John’s call and let us not be discouraged! “Prepare the way of the Lord to come!”
God knows we need it