-Rev Melissa Fain-
Every year, during this time, I try to take the perspective of an outsider. Churches tend to make too many assumptions about language and attitude. We don't consider if someone would know why we are standing, or what the words we use mean. When it comes to Advent, aside from being attached to the word "Calendar," it's not used in modern speech.
Unless we were raised in the tradition, most of us assume Advent probably begins Dec 1 and ends Dec 24. (You know, based on those calendars with the boxes filled with candy.) In actuality, Advent is a little more fluid. It's the four Sundays prior to Christmas. Advent can start on December 1 (when Christmas falls on a Wednesday), but it always begins the four Sundays before Christmas.
Four Sundays are vital, for each Sunday, one is supposed to remember a word, and take it like an instruction on a road map. Advent centers our hearts and minds on a baby in a manger, and helps us journey to that destination. Those four words are: Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. It must be in that order. It must follow this path. Those four words are transformative. They are lights in the growing darkness of shorter days, and longer nights. They sit on a wreath of new life, as so many things grow dormant. It comes at just the right time, when things begin to look bleak.
As I continue this ornament based Christmas, follow along. Learn something about the themes as I tell you a little about myself. If you would like to know specifics about this time, check out this previous meditation:
The Liturgical Calendar
Tomorrow we begin the journey with Hope. If you wish, read some of the previous meditations on Hope:
Beginning Again: Hope
Advent: Unfulfilled Hope
Modern Nativity: Hope