Over one long weekend, Thanksgiving sort of dissolves into the season of Advent. These days have been full, sure enough. Cooking, traveling, preparing. Making the dinner. (Digesting the dinner!) Football games and family reunions. We gave thanks as a parish on the night before; we made sandwiches for 250 homeless people on the morning after. The symmetry suited us.
Sunday morning brings the smell of evergreen to the parish hall with purple candles. Advent. (Prepare!) Make your own wreath. There are articles for sale as well. The hands that crafted them live in Uganda, Bangladesh, Ghana, Cameroon, India, all over the world. The third world. These items from Catholic Relief Services do more than sit on a shelf. They promote fair trade and fight poverty and champion women’s rights and educate children. At another table, there are baked goods for sale as well. They are being sold by one of our parishioners who is in eighth grade. She had a tough time last year battling cancer. She won. She wants to help other kids win, so she’s donating all the proceeds to pediatric cancer research because she has much to be thankful for…..
….these days have been full.
We begin, this Sunday (the First Sunday!), another year of liturgy together. Preparing for the Lord, who will be in your life this year no matter what else is or isn’t (or who else is or isn’t!). The weeks to come will be filled. There is shopping and preparing, waiting in malls and gathering for parties. Gregory Norbet will be here next weekend and Santa (test run!) the week after that. The days will fly by…..
…..which is why, this Sunday evening, do yourself a favor. Come to the church at 5:00 and let the calming music of stringed instruments (nine of them!) wash over you and help you center. Our chamber orchestra will play for an hour. No long introductions or explanations. Just beautiful, prayerful music with which to begin the season. Violins. Violas. A cello. A bass. Some printed meditations avail- able for your reflection or bring something of your own.
This season is filled with excitement and anticipation, yes, but it is also filled with holiness, the certainty of meeting the Divine, the touching of heaven to earth. (of the Lord to your life!). Get ready. Get ready to be filled…..with comfort, with wonder, with light, with calm, with loveliness. With awareness, with healing, with thankfulness, with joy……with all good gift.