Have a blessed Second Sunday of Advent.
“Advent is a season of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the nativity of Jesus. The name derives from the Latin adventus, meaning “coming.” Marked over the course of the four Sundays before Christmas, Advent is traditionally celebrated with an advent wreath: a ring of evergreen with 3 purple candles and one pink one (or 4 purple candles) that represent: Hope, Love, Joy (pink) and Peace. ” – From the UUA Website
Here is a prayer from Cricket
In this time of waiting, may we hold the world in our hearts.
In this time of waiting, may we hold each other’s hands.
In this time of waiting, may we be thoughtful and introspective.
In this time of waiting, may we delight in the darkness and all it teaches us.
In this time of waiting, may we rekindle the fires of hope, love joy, and peace within ourselves and our communities.
In this time of waiting, may we become ready for the coming day.
“‘God did it’ isn’t an explanation,” said Joseph.
He got no account for the baby’s chromosomes,
No description of the mechanism that
Transmuted the divine shadow into royal blood.
“‘The devil made me do it’ would have sounded better to me,” said Joseph,
Though it never did him any good when he said it to his old girlfriends.
It was a mystery to him,
What moved him to listen for the rhyme
And puzzle for the reason
That Mary gave him the news in the manner that she did:
A mystery that put him at peace.
There was something in the way she held his hand
That no medical journal article could correlate;
Something in the way she gazed into his eyes
That eluded the grasp of genomic research.
“I don’t ask you to believe what I am saying,” she said,
“I don’t ask you to take my word for it.
I just ask you to love, as if.
Love me as if I were yours,
Love this baby as if he were yours,
As I love you as if you were mine.”
Love “as if” makes every child divine
Love “as if” fits all in David’s line
Love “as if” this love was meant for you
Love “as if” the Christmas tale is true.
“Use loneliness. Its ache creates urgency to reconnect with the world.”
— Natalie Goldberg
I know a little about “merry” meeting “mess” at the holidays — and by a little I mean How much time have you got?
Four Christmases ago, a painful break-up sent me spinning into a long tango with depression. Two Christmases ago, I came down with the stomach flu. Last year, as tears streamed down my face, friends cut off my long hair in preparation for my first round of chemotherapy. And this year? Like many, I’m grieving an election that, I believe, has already damaged the hearts and bodies of our country’s most fragile people.
I haven’t soured on the holidays, however — and I will not give up on Christmas — for two reasons.
First: long before my heart was broken and I lost my hair to chemo, I learned to shape the holidays to fit into whatever-shaped hole is in my heart.
At times, this has required ingenuity and vigilance. The holidays, laden as they are with traditions and sacred cows, can pull us into programmed ruts rather than genuine wonder. To ask, What do I truly need? and How can I claim my longing for joy? can happen only when we allow ourselves to practice vulnerability and take mindful pauses.
The other reason I won’t give up on Christmas is its central message: the Holy will never give up on us, her people. In fact, from Hanukkah to Solstice, that’s the message of most winter holy days: the Holy — call it God, call it The Force, call it Love’s Impulse — will never give up on us, even when we feel like curling up in a dark room and revoking our membership in the human family.
If I believe that your love will never let us go, I imagine saying to the Great All That Is, the least I can do is be your spy on the ground. I’ll keep watch for love, for compassion, for magic, for awe; and I’ll report back regularly, just to feel close to you.
Every one of you, Sugar Plums, has a story about the holiday blues: crisis, loneliness, wanting to give up. Telling our stories helps restore our wholeness. Tell yours. While you’re at it, form a plan for the coming weeks so that on the other side of this winter, you can look back and say, “Here’s how I made it gentler on myself, and here’s where I remembered that love will show itself, again and again.”
You reveal yourself to us in myriad ways, Gentlest of Ways, and at this time of the year you remind us that you’ll never turn away from us. Whether our hearts are merry or miserable, may our longing keep turning us toward you, and toward the presence of your Love among us.
When used as a responsive reading, “We are waiting” is the congregational response.
This is the season of anticipation,
Of expecting, of hoping, of wanting.
This is the time of expecting the arrival of something–or someone.
We are waiting.
This is the time of living in darkness, in the hues of unknowing.
Of being quiet, of reflecting on a year almost past.
Waiting for a new beginning, for a closing or an end.
This is the time for digesting the lessons of days gone past, anticipating the future for which
We are waiting.
Waiting for a world which can know justice
Waiting for a lasting peace.
Waiting for the bridge to span the divides which separate us.
Waiting for a promise or a hope.
For all of this
We are waiting.
There’s Something About Mary