Happy New Year! At least liturgically speaking of course. This year has been challenging for all of us in our own unique ways as we grapple with our daily duties in the midst of a global pandemic. For many in our church, this has been isolation from our friends, families, and co-workers to protect each other and reduce the spread of COVID-19. While we are blessed to live in a modern time where we can video call our loved ones and live-stream church from the safety and comfort of our homes, it just isn’t the same as in-person community. In these times of isolation, it’s okay for us to recognize the stress this can cause inside us.

Hope in a Season of Sadness

While we all hope for a return to a sense of normalcy in our lives I challenge us to change what it is we are hoping for in this season to help heal the sadness of the time. We the church looking back in celebration of Christ’s birth and looking forward and hope for the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns. This is the season of Advent.

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain

3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

4 O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave. Refrain

5 O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain

6 O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light. Refrain

7 O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain 

O come O come Emmanuel in remembrance and anticipation of God’s kingdom in our hurting world. Much like the season of Lent where we fast in remembrance and preparation for Easter.

How to Prepare

There is nothing wrong with decorating for the holidays, buying presents for our loved ones, or listening to Christmas music all season long. Echoing a challenge repeated from the past… instead of preparation for Christmas we prepare ourselves for the coming of God’s kingdom here on earth. Amongst holiday shopping, and decorating; make room for God first in our lives. Pray more, forgive more, and ask forgiveness from others.

God Bless and we too shall overcome this.

Resources

What is Advent?

Episcopal Glossary – Advent

The True Meaning of Christmas

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