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Advent Wreath

by Susan Russell

A friend of mine once described how “waiting” during Advent is different than some of the other kinds of “waiting” we do: waiting for a bus, for example. Waiting for a bus can be both boring and anxiety-producing. Will it be on time? Will I make my connection? Am I waiting at the right bus stop . . .  what if I looked at the schedule wrong? Where IS that bus, anyway? That’s waiting in anxiety.

Waiting in expectancy is more like being seated in the concert hall, waiting for the curtain to rise.

We know something wonderful is about to happen: and everyone else is waiting with the same expectation. We may know what to expect – we’ve bought the tickets, looked over the program, checked out the performers – but the experience is yet to happen. And so we wait – we wait expectantly; we wait in the tension of both knowing and NOT knowing – open to the experience about to unfold: expectant rather than anxious.

I believe that is the kind of “Advent Attitude” God calls us to aim for: to live in both trust and tension as we prepare, once again, for the coming of the One whose birth turned the world upside down as certainly as the preparations for his birthday turn our schedules upside down every year at this time. For the righteousness Jesus offered – the love he proclaimed – was too radical, too inclusive, too dangerous to survive without creating chaos for the status quo – then or now. And it is an amazing irony that the very Jesus who gave his life to show us how to love each other has too often had his message of reconciliation misused as a means of polarization.

In this Advent-tide may we be given grace to find our voices in this 21st century wilderness and reclaim the historic faith we have inherited as we proclaim the Good News of the Gospel of Grace whenever and wherever we can as we wait in expectancy for the One who calls us to the work of mass reconciliation: of truth and justice; of peace and love.

He brings God’s rule, O Zion; he comes from heav’n above.
His rule is peace and freedom, and justice, peace, and love.
Lift high your praise resounding, for grace and joy abounding.
Oh, blest is Christ that came in God’s most holy name.