We are making our way through Advent, three of four Sundays have passed. For those of us of the liturgical branches of the Christian world, it is the beginning of a new year. In many ways it is a new beginning.
Advent is considered a season of waiting and a time of preparation. We are waiting and preparing for the coming of Christ. There are two layers to our waiting and preparing. We are waiting and preparing to celebrate the first coming of the baby Jesus some two thousand years ago, Christmas. At the same time we are looking forward to the second coming of Christ in completeness sometime in the future.
I like to think of the church year as more of a circle or an ascending spiral than a straight line. As we move through time we come to the same place, same holy days each year. At the same time, it is one year later; time has moved on. It’s more of a mystical kind of tracking time, a mystical way of looking at things – the past, present and future, the beginning the end all come together somehow and yet move on. It might not make much sense, but then it seems God does not make much sense either sometimes.
In fact, there’s a lot that doesn’t make sense. And for various reasons most of us are ready for a new beginning.
Let’s be honest – the 2016 election is one of the reasons many of us would not mind a new start. It has been a real struggle to see good in much of what is happening. I can’t help wondering if even some of those who were happy with the outcome wouldn’t also appreciate a new start.
I have tried to understand all that has happened and what is developing. I’ve heard and read all kinds of theories and commentaries. I have kept my conservative Facebook friends. I’ve worried, gotten angry, blamed this person and that group. I’ve processed with trusted friends and mentors. And none of that has helped, really. We just don’t know what it all means yet.
But we are entering a whole new church year. That has to count for something. We’ve been in Advent before, but this one somehow feels different.
Something has been unleashed. Even though I’m pretty sure I’m on the “right side of history” on this, I also have a fear that I’m missing something, that I might be wrong somehow. No matter how just and inclusive and fair and free I think I am I’m pretty sure I haven’t gotten it all right.
Then I think of all the people I know and respect and love for whom a new level of fear is very real and for many continues to grow – immigrants, Muslims, LGBTQA family and friends. That makes it real for me, too. And I wonder what I can do.
I don’t know yet. Except that one thing I can do is take care of myself as best I can so that when an opportunity presents itself I can see it, hear it, and respond in a healthy and helpful way.
And so, this Advent we watch and wait. Again. We ponder how to prepare the way - remembering it is, after all, a new beginning.
Original journal entry date: 11/28/16
© 2018 Jane Buckley-Farlee All rights reserved.