by Rev. Joan Kessler
Mark 13: 34-37
"November" by Mary Oliver
Story: "Why Christmas Trees aren't Perfect" by Richard Schneider
If 2020 were a Christmas tree, it might look like Small Pine we just heard read. It has been a very tumultuous year with the Australian and California wildfires, COVID closures and lockdowns, Black Lives Matter and US election unrest. But here we are at the commencement of Advent once again. If you’re like me, there are so many unknowns around what Christmas will look like and the very real possibility of not being able to gather with our family and friends. I found myself pondering this past week what will be the same? What will be different?
And then I think of my kids. I want to tell my two daughters to remember the Christmas of 2020 because it is likely going to be unlike any other they will experience in their lifetime…I want to tell them that this Christmas will not be just another day because of COVID. Christmas may come quietly this year, it may creep in when we least expect it….just as it did some 2000 years ago. Small Pine from our story, is a good example for how to approach this Advent of 2020. This tree made itself available to the needs of others and demonstrates what equanimity looks like…the ability to weather the storms of life with grace and hope that whatever circumstances befall us and cause suffering and hardship, they are but temporary.
There’s a saying I was reminded of recently, you can’t push the river. Some things, often many things are beyond our control. We will wait. We will light our candles Sunday by Sunday, the Advent calendar can only be opened one day at a time. We can’t sing Silent Night until Christmas Eve. Christmas might not be perfect this year. But what might be our intention for these coming weeks leading to Christmas? What do you hope for today and the weeks to come?