December 3, 10, 17, 24
Watch for information about our Advent Celebration
and our annual gathering of gifts for the children
at the shelter of the Support Network of the YWCA Domestic Violence
and at the Fisher House (with loved ones in the poly-trauma unit at the VA Hospital)
The God who comes to us
A reflection from Pastor Bonde
Advent became my favorite season of the year when the girls were small. I made a very simple Advent Wreath – actually an Advent log – from a section of a large branch into which I had drilled four holes and inserted blue candles. We set it up on the top of our small spinet piano with an Advent calendar and the elements of our congregation’s advent devotional: a folder in which to insert quarters each day and a list of readings and the prayer of the day from the previous Sunday.
Every evening the four of us squeezed together onto the piano bench, lit the advent candles (1 in the first week, 2 in the second…) and sang an Advent hymn. Then one of the girls would read the assigned reading and the other would read the daily prayer. A small child’s voice reading these wonderful texts and prayers into the stillness was magical. Finally, Anna or Megan (taking turns, Megan on even days and Anna on odd days) would find the correct window for the day and open the Advent calendar and we would choose one more hymn.
It was a wonderfully sweet and peaceful family time.
We were living in Detroit at the time. Winters were dark and overcast. It was cold; the trees bare, and the dark cold made our part of town seem even poorer and more broken down. There was no sunlight or green leaves to take the edge off barred windows and boarded up storefronts. So that simple, peaceful time together on the piano bench radiated a quiet, wonderful hope. The world does not belong to decay; Christ comes to us.
Advent begins with our eyes turned to the horizon of human history – when Christ shall come and reign over a world made new, when swords are beaten into plowshares and the lion lies down with the lamb, when every tear is wiped away and the veil of sorrows lifted, when the new Jerusalem comes like a bride adorned for her husband.
As the days pass, the focus shifts from the grace of God that shall come, to the grace that has come: to the promise of the prophets and the preaching of John and the announcement to Mary that she shall bear a son. Advent may be a season of waiting, watching and preparing – but it is a waiting and preparing for joy.
Christ comes. He who stands at the beginning and end of time comes into the midst of time. He comes in the child of Nazareth. And he comes to us in our daily lives. In a season of gathering darkness, he comes as the world’s true light, our true joy, our true peace.
Every evening on our piano bench, with a child on my lap, I was privileged to have a taste of that everlasting peace.