Every year on the first Wednesday of Advent, I sit anxiously in a pew, waiting with excitement and a tiny bit of apprehension. What if it isn't as good as I remember? What if I don't remember the words? What if I don't feel it the way I have in the past? But then, the lights in the sanctuary dim, and the congregation turns to face a lone candle in the dark. A lone cantor sings,
"Jesus Christ, you are the light of the world..."
And then, the walls warm with the response sung by the group:
"The light no darkness can overcome!"
And as we continue to sing, my soul is fed by the refrains of Holden Evening Prayer, which calls me to reflect on the season of Advent, drawing me into rhythms of hope and expectation. This work by Marty Haugen (several of his hymns are celebrated in our very own Community of Christ Sings) beckons Christians to remember why we decorate our homes with lights, trees, and stockings:
Joyous light of heavenly glory, loving glow of God's own face
you who sing creation's story, shine on every land and race.
Now as evening falls around us, we shall raise our songs to you,
God of daybreak, God of shadows, come and light our hearts anew.
Advent is a time of preparation of the heart, not the hearth. It's time to make room in our souls for the light of God, not make sure we have enough room under our tree for presents. It is time to pause in our hurried lives to ask God to light our hearts anew.
Reflect light this Advent season!
Check out these resources from Community of Christ's Spiritual Formation Center to help you find a reflective rhythm this advent:
Practices of Discipleship for Advent
A Surprising Hope: Seeking Wisdom in the Advent Night