It is the first Sunday of Advent. It is my favorite season of the year. When I first discovered the Christian calendar and began paying attention to the ways in which ordering time can conform to the life and work of Jesus, I felt like I discovered a true gift. The cycle of time looks like this: Advent –> Christmas –> Epiphany –> Ordinary Time –> Lent –> Holy Week/Easter –> Pentecost –> Ordinary Time. And then you repeat. The season of Ordinary Time that falls after Pentecost is long – the longest of the calendar. By the time advent is here, I find myself longing for this season of anticipation and longing for Christ’s birth – both the birth which happened 2000 years ago and the births of renewal, healing, peace, joy, hope, and love that Christ brings in our lives today. There is a rhythm to the Christian calendar that I have found to be orienting and sustaining.
This year, like years of the past, my heart is both heavy and hopeful. It is heavy because of the brokenness of the world around us. It is heavy because of the things I have done and left undone. It is heavy because many times life is just hard to hold. We are talking about peace today, and sometimes peace seems like a really great idea without practical legs upon which to stand. I hear the words of the prophet Jeremiah saying, “They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.” But Advent is a season of anticipation. It is hopeful because we are Jesus people, and our story is one of birth, death, and resurrection. And this is the season of birth. What might God be birthing in you this advent? In this church family? I invite you into our defiant song of hopeful anticipation today: “Let there be peace.”