Pastor Ken Gibson
The word advent is defined by Webster a couple of different ways. The first is advent with a small “a“; as the following; (ad-vent n.) the coming or arrival of something awaited or momentous. Then there is Advent with a capital “A” as follows: (Ad-vent n.) The birth of Christ. I think that both definitions are actually needed to capture the wonder and gift that advent truly is, both as advent and Advent.
For me, the advent with a lowercase “a” represents the joy and excitement we have in waiting for the birth of Jesus. The Advent with uppercase “A” is the event itself, an event so important that all of time since is noted from this birth.
And for me, this year advent with a small “a” is truly a time of waiting for a special birth, especially since I wait with anticipation for the birth of a second grandson, as daughter Lauren is due to deliver early in this new advent season. Now the whole world, I am sure, will not henceforth mark time at the birth of our newest grandchild, yet it is significant to me and my family. I will rejoice at the gift of this child, and in the same way, we rejoice again that the whole world experienced the first Advent, capital “A”. Our family has always included the wonder of the Advent season and the joy of remembering Christ’s birth and the gift of Christ’s coming means for us and for the world. Lauren, especially, always loved the waiting as much as the actual joy of Christmas. Where Joy, on the other hand, truly relished in the joy that comes with Christmas Day! Both are good and both are important.
Yet I must share that time changes things, and I am reminded that for some the “joy” that should be felt at this time of waiting can be troublesome and maybe even painful. I will not try and make it all sound and seem easy and in some way suggest that such should not be the case. I have over these past 25 years of ministry and 58 years of life come to realize that people are where they are and sometimes the best we can do is try to just be with them in that space. To sit and wait with them as it were. To share in the moments of hurt and to care enough to maybe just, be still enough to hear them as they breathe.
So what I am asking us all to consider is, as we “do” advent this season, if we might all take some time to be still enough, if not to hear and feel someone else breathe, then to make time to do such for ourselves. Our mid-week Advent service with Holden Evening Prayer is one place that we can do such together as a community of faith, and as persons in need of some stillness in our own lives. In so doing then, might we come to the place where the Advent, uppercase “A” is the fulfilling gift of life and light so intended. Advent waiting is for a purpose and may we find Joy in both the wait and the birth.
Happy Advent to all and to all a Christmas full of The Gift!
Pastor Ken Gibson
Email Pastor Ken ~ KGibson@gracewoodstock.org