The spiritual exercise of participating in Advent has been with the Christian church for over 1,500 years. In that respect, we’re joining a long line of adherents to Advent celebrations. I’ll be honest with you; Advent hasn’t been a deeply rooted practice in my life. Growing up, we never missed church on Sunday. My parents were adamant about attendance at Worship and Christian education. But attending Advent services and lighting an Advent wreath for each passing week wasn’t a part of my upbringing. Then I did a crazy thing a married a pastor. Now, attendance at Advent services was a must. And I didn’t enjoy it. Church in the evenings is, using a polite word rather than a crude one, difficult with toddlers. My girls just didn’t know how to sit quietly for anything that happened after 6:00 pm. So dragging them to church on Wednesday evenings was just that – a drag. Now, Advent is very much a part of my life. Visual Faith has brought an element of creativity and joy into what was once a chore. And then this year brought an entirely new wrinkle to the page.
Back in October, I was invited to speak at an Advent tradition practiced in my denomination known as Advent by Candlelight. These events are always scheduled during the first week of Advent where women gather to take a moment to remember what the season is all about, preparing them to focus on the Christ Child rather than what cookies to bake. Usually, food is served, songs are sung, and someone speaks about what’s coming in the four weeks that follow. But the Advent by Candlelight that I’ve been invited to speak
at this year is truly going to be a different experience for me. This event is taking place at a Mission in the heart of the worst neighborhood in our city. The attendees will be people I don’t know at all. The room will be made up of women who don’t have homes but live in abandoned buildings, walk the streets, struggle with addictions, and live lives I could only imagine. Needless to say – I’m nervous.
As I prayed through the writing of this talk, God helped me realize that no matter where you live, He is still God.
He still brings Hope into a world that seems hopeless for His hope is pure and true.