The first Sunday of Advent has finally arrived. I’ve been waiting eagerly for this season of… waiting. Seems a little strange, I know, to be excited about waiting.
There’s a lot about this season that I don’t love. The mindless consumption, the pressure to make things appear perfect, the aching sadness that runs deep in so many of us for whom this season acts as a reminder of loss and loneliness.
These things exist in stark contrast to the reasons that I love celebrating Advent– the intentional season of waiting in hope for the arrival of the Incarnate God. A God who generously gifted us with God’s very self. A God who knows we aren’t perfect and loves us anyways. A God who knows the ache of loneliness and loss, and walks with us in our sorrow. We wait for the celebration of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, and for the day when He will come again and make all things right.
But we don’t wait passively. We wait and we work. We work to create places of belonging where we embody Christ for one another — where we gift one another with our presence, where we acknowledge that none of us are perfect but we choose to love each other anyways, where we walk with one another through the sorrows and the joys.
The Dale has a number of Christmas traditions, which I think/hope/pray help to create a sense of belonging in a season that can be so hard. This week we’ll bake cookies and go caroling around Parkdale. Next week we’ll have a special meal, with some guest musicians and extra desserts. The following week we’ll be handing out some gifts at our Monday drop-in, and on Christmas Eve we’ll walk around the neighbourhood with more gifts. Then we’ll have a Christmas Eve service, and celebrate Jesus’ birth, and our deep hope that all of our waiting will one day culminate in His coming again.