Great Expectations – Advent 1

Lamentations 3:22-23

22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;[a]
his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Yesterday some children and adults gathered to make Advent wreaths.  As we decorated the wreaths with baubles and ribbons and candles, we talked about how we mark time with the wreath, each week lighting more candles as we wait for the birth of the Light of the World, Jesus.

It’s a simple, steady tradition, but it helps us stay mindful that this is a time set apart.  Like many of the customs we hold dear in the church, there’s no fancy laser lights involved or big screen or promise of excitement whatsoever, and I imagine this is why many grow restless with the church and our various traditions.  And yet, I can’t count the number of times that a family whom I rarely see at church comes to me for a burial or a wedding, and then they want those same and steady traditions, the well-known scriptures, to taste of and find comfort in the same-ness of it all again.

I guess we all need to know that there is something that never changes.  Some of us regularly take comfort in the steadfast love of God and the church rituals we hold dear.  We would feel lost without Sunday morning worship, the deep blue banners on the church wall, the presence of font and altar rail and pulpit as the touchstone for our weeks.  Others find less value in structure of church and liturgy yet still feel God’s presence near in other places no less holy – home, nature, a good cup of coffee and conversation with a friend.

Perhaps the greatest blessing is when we can learn to spot God’s fingerprints everywhere and learn how to thank God in everything. Whether we sense God’s steadfast love while gathered with others for worship or while sitting on a quiet porch alone in the moonlight, great is God’s faithfulness to us.  Always. Thanks be to God.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, we pray that even as the days grow colder and darker, your love will always be the fire and light that warms us.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Reflection:  Where do you feel God’s presence nearest to you?  Why?


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