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The candles are ready but I’m wondering if I am.


For another Advent. For another liturgical New Year.

Not the kind with champagne and silly hats and trying-to-stay-up-til-midnight-to-ring-in-the-New Year. No crowds in Times Square waiting for the crystal ball to drop or floats on Colorado Boulevard.

Nope. This is the kind of new year that sneaks up on you as the last of the pumpkin pie and stuffing is consumed and the turkey carcass that was the succulent centerpiece a few days ago inches closer to the soup pot. It’s the kind of new year that starts not with revelry but with reverie. And it’s the kind of new year that offers as its opening act the call to wait. To watch. To prepare. To make a way where there is no way. To hope.

Advent One WreathWe lit the first candle of the Advent wreath with a prayer that began: “The first candle of Advent is the candle of Hope.” And as we did I was reminded of the words of our now former Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who famously said: “Advent is the season when Christians are called to live with more hope than the world thinks is reasonable.” Which — in turn — recalled these words from one of the great influences on my life and work — author and poet Madeline L’Engle:

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There’d have been no room for the child.

So here we go — ready or not — into Advent. The Irrational Season when we — like our sister Mary — are called to live with more hope than the world thinks is reasonable.

Happy New Year!

Another in our series of daily Advent Meditations — written by Susan Russell, Senior Associate for Communication at All Saints Church in Pasadena.