Dear People of God
Advent Message 2022
Welcome to a brief reflection on Advent 2022. For a long time I have been intrigued that our Book of Common Prayer offers us instructions for the season of Lent but not for any other season. You know how it goes. The Celebrant on Ash Wednesday turns to page 264 and reads “Dear People of God…and then reports how the early church prepared for the annual celebration of Holy Week. And then we are invited to observance of a holy Lent by repentance, prayer, fasting, self-denial and meditating on Scripture.”
But we don’t get instructions for the other seasons. I wrote one for the Easter Season a few years ago. They have not yet included it in the Prayer Book. Now I’m thinking what would go into an invitation to a Holy Advent.
There needs to be something from the Advent reading from Isaiah: “turn your words into plowshares.” Isaiah speaks to about the all creation existing in peace - “ the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord.” John the Baptist is a big figure in Advent so there should be something about prophets and preparing a way for the Lord. And there is Joseph who hears from God in dreams and Mary whose soul magnifies the Lord. Mary who experiences so much and treasures these events in her heart.
Advent is also about hope. The hope of salvation. Thomas Merton says “True hope is trusting that what we have and where we are is more than enough for us as creatures of God.” And “if you exist, you exist in hope. To cease hoping is to cease existing. To hope, and to exist, is to have roots in God.”
With that as background, I humbly offer you this instruction for Advent:
Dear People of God: You are invited to the observance of a holy Advent. In this busy time of year, take time to breathe. May you prepare the Way of the Lord coming to us in the baby Jesus by turning away from cynicism and embracing hope. May your generosity in this season extend to those in need throughout the year. May you know God is present in your busy life and in the lives of those experiencing loneliness. Listen to the prophets around us who call for swords to be turned into plowshares and invite us to honor the earth and all who live upon it. May you dream of God’s kingdom on earth and know that your soul magnifies the Lord. And as you move from event to event, treasure these memories in your heart. And hear the words of St. Paul everyday this Advent: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
Have a hopeful Advent everyone.