“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah. Out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.” Micah 5:2
It sure has been a year to remember. Even though there were many reasons to want to forget it. The year started with the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election. Followed by the January 6 assault on the capitol. This created even deeper divisions between people and political positions. The pandemic still rages even though there are three vaccines available to “stop the spread.” We continue to feel the effects of the Delta variant on our economic recovery, inflation, our daily routines, and a decline in church attendance. Not only have we been slow to come back to worship, even our online viewings are dwindling away.
I know that I often lament that we skip over the Thanksgiving holiday in our rush to get to Christmas, but this year, even I can see the value of stringing up some lights and playing those holiday classics on my Spotify a bit earlier.
Advent is our season of anticipation. A time for us to hope that life may be a little better and that next year may not be so hard.
I know that many of you are grieving this year. As a pastor I have conducted more funerals in a month than what I would normally do in a year. I feel the broken heartedness that so many of you are feeling. So many people are struggling this year emotionally and spiritually. But Advent offers us hope. Advent offers us love. Advent offers us joy. Advent offers us peace. Because Advent offers us the Way, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!
I am sure that 2022 will be filled with challenges of its own. I am sure our political divides will continue. I’m sure the virus will still offer us challenges. I am sure the economy will still need to recover. But I am also sure that God’s steadfast love will never end. I am sure that faith will prevail, and that Christmas year will will be filled with messages of hope, love, joy, and peace. Praise be to our God who never leaves us or forsakes us.
Have a wonderful and Merry Christmas.
I look forward to seeing yinz in church on Sunday,