While there were some brave souls venture out, I’m glad that the majority heard from somewhere (email, phone, radio) that services were cancelled this morning. As Advent is the season of waiting, we can wait one more week to get back together. Next week, December 8th, we’ll join together our Hanging of the Greens service with our White Gift Sunday, in celebration of symbols, caring, and sharing. While the weather made it nearly impossible to hold service, it’s not without some disappointment, because yesterday, over 20 folks gathered to make ready the church for Advent.
Trees were lifted into place, evergreen boughs were readied, communion was prepared, all in anticipation of today. New faces, familiar faces, blessed the church and its people to get things ready – to do the hard work and the heart work necessary to welcome Advent today. There was so much laughter and life that for those present it almost makes it ok to miss today’s service. Almost. What made it truly special is that for the few of us that gathered had everyone else in mind when making preparations. That’s the blessing of this work, that while garlands were being strung, we could only imagine the kids bringing them in. As we readied the tree, we imagined the faces of everyone bringing forward prayers written on ornaments. Our Hanging of the Greens service is more than the preparation, more than the start of our journey, it is the deep reminder that God is in all things – our church, this community, the people who for 10 years or more have grown our trees, our global partners who have cared for poinsettias – around the Earth, there is hope when we remind ourselves of our interconnectedness.
In Stave One of A Christmas Carol Ebeneezer Scrooge meets the ghost of his former partner Jacob Marley. Scrooge is warned that if he doesn’t prepare himself – if he doesn’t change – then he too will suffer the same fate of his partner. Scrooge must endure a sleepless night full of hard work and heart work, discerning the hope that still shines amidst Victorian England, and in his own life.
And we are the same – there is hope that dwells in us – amidst the worries of the night, and ghosts that linger, there is hope that points a way. So where do you see hope in your life today? Scrooge’s hope rested upon the visits he would have in the night. Our hope is that this ice will clear by next Sunday and we’ll be able to welcome Advent with candles and carols. But where is your hope – where do you see hope – where do you wish hope would grow?
As you keep safe and warm today – may you discern the hope that is with you. May hope come in the laughter of shared moments, or in the quiet of the night – but may hope be yours, now and throughout this blessed season.