December 15, 2013

Pastoral Letter

“So, how is that alternate plan for Advent and Christmas coming?” I asked myself. Well, I haven’t eliminated very much from my schedule. I did add some extra hours in exercise, though not much success in reducing my “in-take.” (Who keeps bringing sweets into the office?)

We did make a point (ok, Trish made a point and I joined her) to go to our neighborhood toy drive, last Monday evening. There were lots of cookies and hot chocolate (the irony isn’t lost on me), and fun getting acquainted with neighbors and then… a two decker, English style, bus ride around our neighborhood. With Christmas carols playing and Santa hats in place, we looked down on the Christmas lights in our community. We chuckled as teenagers made a fuss when we entered their street.

It was a delightfully different perspective and a moment of pause amidst the seasonal demands. Sometimes it doesn’t take much of a pause to create holy space. Advent is a season of moments when we can attend to the air we breathe, the faces of the people next to us, the smells of fresh fir trees and the rich memories they call to mind.

The coming (Advent) of Christmas is about transforming our perspective. We look at life differently; we open our hearts to wonder, we listen more intently for the songs of angels and pause to wonder instead of conclude. Over the years I have tried to pay particular attention to children as they discover this season. I find renewal in their infatuation with the ingredients of Christmas. My heart is refreshed by the simple joy of a pile of fall leaves, the sparkly lights on houses and trees or the new dress obtained for the Christmas Concert.

And yes, even the worn-out whining, mid-day break down, sugar-crash moments are reminders of the need for boundaries, self-care and rest. When we attend to Christ’s coming, we attend to it all; and all life becomes an entryway to the holy.

May God surprise you in moments of delight and awe, empathy and care, craziness and compassion as Christ crosses your path and the angels giggle in delight.

Pastor Mark