If I had to sum up the message of Advent in 7 words, it would be :
“Almost, but not quite yet. Stay tuned!”
These words resonate as we make plans for the “usual” activities of Advent, here at HEUMC. We’re engaging in Advent Bible Study, Sunday School, Adult Forum and Sunday worship — but not fully in person. We’re meeting online, or in a hybrid of in-person and online (thank you, technology!). We’re planning a Carol Sing on Dec 12, and even as we welcome those who will attend at church, we’ll also be live-streaming the service to those who will participate remotely. The same set-up will take place for the Blue Christmas Service on Dec 19, and for Christmas Eve on Dec 24.
It’s almost like being together, but not quite yet. Stay tuned!
Of course, we’ll share food together! There will be coffee hour after worship, and a reception after the Carol Sing, and a Christmas Breakfast together at 10:00 a.m. on Dec 19. But the food will be individually packaged, and those attending will be asked to mask when they are not eating. In all these activities windows will be open (no matter the weather), while air purifiers and fans circulate the air.
It’s almost like our former celebrations, but not quite yet. Stay tuned!
Even these plans, already full of adjustments for the current pandemic situation, are tentative. No one knows, yet, what the Omicron variant will bring, or even what the next stage of Delta will be. We’re staying flexible, and we’ll keep everyone posted as we try to be both celebratory and as safe as possible.
In a season when we just want to settle into beloved traditions, all this adjusting can be disorienting, disappointing, and exhausting. So it’s good to remember that it’s into exactly this kind of situation that God is pleased to enter, again and again. In the midst of all the new arrangements, the angel song can still be heard, if we are still enough to listen.
And so we make our Advent preparations: we light Advent candles, one each week; we gradually add characters to the Nativity scene; we purchase Christmas Angel gifts for children in our community; we bake and decorate and plan. Right in the middle of our uncertainties, these activities point to a future that we believe is coming, that’s not quite here yet. All of this, uncertain as it may feel, is where Jesus is born, this year as always, offering peace that passes understanding, bringing good news of great joy to all people.
Advent blessings, friends. Christ is coming. Stay tuned!