The season of Advent marks the beginning of the Christian year.* We immerse ourselves in the themes of hope, peace, joy, and love in preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth and the journey of his life. We are called to pause and reflect, even (and especially) amid the Christmas marketplace chaos.
Advent is also an excellent time to reflect on the questions that guide us. Productivity gurus tout the magic of goal setting. Cultural conditioning instructs us to know – and proclaim our knowledge of – all the answers.
But I learn a lot from sitting with questions. A couple have travelled with me for many years: how can such joy and such suffering exist simultaneously in our world? And how ought I to live in the face of this dissonance?
I expect to grapple with these questions as long as I have breath in me.
Others are more transitory, such as – how do I live into and love the work of this moment? what words and actions can I usefully contribute in this cultural climate? what exactly is that cultural climate even anyway?
Those who listen to me regularly know that I consider all time holy. Yet each season carries that sacredness in a different manner. The rhythm of Christian life offers us the continual discipline of lifting our spirits and opening our hearts. It also gives us time to reflect, to discern, and to grow in wisdom and understanding.
I invite you in these early days of the Christian year, in this sacred time of waiting and hoping, of rejoicing and contemplation, to spend some time with your questions – or, if need be, to work on figuring out what questions you might journey with in the days, months, and years ahead.
May you find blessing in that journey.
(*my sermons, never especially long by conventional standards, are particularly brief during Advent because Beloved has a tradition of glorious extra music during this season. Consider this a sermon outtake 🙂)