We’re coming to the end of the season of Advent, which marks the beginning of the church year. More so than other seasons like Lent, which has a more specific focus, Advent is a more complex microcosm of life. The Sundays celebrate Hope, Peace, Joy & Love. There is also the slaughter of innocents, injustice, barrenness, and powerful darkness. And yet in the midst of darkness, we have seen a great light.
This year during Advent, we’ve seen the #blacklivesmatter movement rise up in protest of the killing of young black men by police, the slaughter of school children in Pakistan, senseless violence in Australia, and the rampant terror perpetuated by groups like ISIS and Boko Haram. Closer to home, I have friends who are going through unspeakable difficulty in this season, as I’m sure everyone does.
I also have friends who are full of joy.
It’s much easier to be swept up in the shiny, twinkly holiday energy that pervades American culture beginning earlier and earlier every year. I swear, next year Macy’s will start putting up trees in July.
Today we focus on Love, but it is also the darkest day of the year. Less light and less warmth makes love hard to see.
The pastor of the church I’ve been attending badly wants me to quote him, so here goes. Today during communion, he said that the elements of the supper exist because their core ingredients had been crushed to produce something new. Those new things nourish the community.
2014 was a year that sucked for so many people. I’m kind of in the middle – some good, some bad. Some of my friends have been crushed this year, but they are hanging in there, looking forward to being made into something new. Some of my friends have experienced nothing but happiness, love and light. I’m really happy for them. I’ve got some good things on the horizon, I think and I’m looking forward what the year will bring. But, whatever comes, like Advent, 2015 will be complicated. There will be darkness and light, heartbreak and warmth, death and resurrection. Hoping that the coming year brings all of us the great light in the darkness.