There is, in my heart, an almost childlike anticipation each year for the celebration of advent! This year I am especially excited, although, I suspect that I say it each year. The preparation of our hearts for the coming of Messiah and taking of time to reflect on what that means, is a holy calling, by a Savior who says,”come to me”. By definition, advent meant the arrival of a person or thing or event of note. In the Christian tradition, it means the coming of Christ. Perhaps this is my favorite church celebration because of my earliest childhood memories. I was born into and christened in the Catholic faith, switched over for a second christening into the Episcopal church while still an infant. There is still, in my heart, mind, and memories something that can evoke at a moment’s notice what I felt and sensed in those early days in Pawtucket, Rhode Island at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on Weeden,Street, just two doors down from my grandmother’s house. The dark wood, the red velvet drapes, and cushions on the kneelers, the stained glass windows, the holy hush, the deep reverence, all taking me closer to God than I had ever felt. He was there in the silence and the candle glow! All around me, even as a small child, I knew, that I knew, that Christ was with me. Each week as the advent candles were lighted and the liturgy was read, I felt the warm embrace of a Savior – who was coming, and who was, and is, and is coming again.
Today is the first Sunday of Advent and I am thankful that our church celebrates advent, even if not quite in the deep, quiet sense, but celebrate we do! One family or group each week will read the scripture for that week’s lesson, one nervous hand will light the candle, and I will be for a brief moment, taken back to another time and place and feel His presence once again. Today the first Sunday of Advent is Hope – the hope of a coming savior! Come quickly Lord Jesus!