Minister’s Moment, December 2017
Growing up Unitarian Universalist, I never knew about the season of Advent. It wasn’t a part of my religious upbringing or Holiday traditions. But when I first learned about it in my mid-20’s I was instantly captivated and drawn to it, much more so than the merriment and celebration even of Yule or Christmas!
Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas (this year it began on Nov. 26th) and marks the beginning of the Christian Liturgical Calendar. The four-week season of Advent invites us into a rich spiritual practice of waiting and preparation. We literally plunge into the darkness, the place where all life begins. We go quiet and deep within ourselves to prepare our hearts and our world for new life, the birth of Christ, the rebirth of the Sun, and the beginning of all things new.
Every year the spiritual disciplines of Advent – waiting, patience, and preparation – remind me that nothing good comes quickly or easily. They help me live in the moment and get through tough times, as dark and scary as they might be. This year is no exception. We all know that political chaos and polarization are tearing at the fabric of our country and our world.
Most days I feel weighed down, sad, and even despairing about the future. But then I remember the story about a Prince of Peace, a baby who came into the world in a lowly manger and changed human history. A religious and political radical who stood for everything that the Empire did not: peace, justice, fairness, and equity. A leader who turned the tables on the powers that be and said, “Enough is enough, there is a better way!”
This is the Christmas story I need this year. I need the rebirth of all things and the restoration of peace on Earth. The stakes are high. We have no time to lose. So why wait? Advent represents a peculiar paradox doesn’t it? Peace is already but not yet possible. We need it now and we still have work to do, plans to make, and souls to grow.
It is too big a task for one person so this year I am simply starting within. I am preparing my heart for the possibility of peace on Earth. I am expecting the unexpected. It is not easy, but it is the lesson of Advent.
Rev. Rebecca Hinds