Advent begins with these words from the Gospel of Matthew:
"But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father…Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming…Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Advent is the season in which we acknowledge that we are always living in a time of anticipation and waiting; for a cure, for an arrival, for death, for a change, for justice, for God. It is a season that calls us to attention; to be attentive to that for which we wait, even if and especially when that for which we wait has an ambiguous arrival time.
Life has felt very Advent-y for me and my family these past 6 months of my pregnancy and it grows more and more so everyday. We are trying to make plans, trying to be ready for anything, not knowing exactly which day or week this child will make their entrance. It has been a holy time of connecting with the spirit of the Advent Season.
Finally, things have come together in such a way that I can announce the plan that the council and I have put together for my maternity leave:
I will be away for roughly 14 weeks from the time the baby arrives, likely March-early/mid June. During this time, Pastor Bill Radatz will be stepping in as our resident Pastor.
He will spend 8 hours a week in service to the congregation behind the scenes, attending key meetings, doing pastoral care, presiding over funerals, and supporting ministries and leaders of the congregation. He will preside in worship each week but will not preach every week. He will preach once a month and the rest of the time our Sundays will be graced with guest preachers along with sermons by 4 of our own deacons! We’ve even secured Bishop Dave Nagler to lead worship and preach on Easter Sunday. God has been very good to us and we are all in good hands.
It is a lot of work to live in anticipation, to do as Jesus commands us and to keep awake to all the realities that are on our way to us, to live in a state of constantly readying ourselves. I have also found it to be entirely life-giving and it has energized me - knowing that such goodness is on its way to us, it fills me with purpose, drive, and anticipatory joy.
I’m waiting for a new baby this Advent. What are you waiting for? A reunion with a loved one? Peace? Reprieve? The end to the war in Ukraine? A turn in the tides? A break? Heaven?
Lutheran Theology speaks of the state in which we live as “already/not yet”. Already Christ has come and opened to us the way of life and yet the life for which we wait is not yet all the way here. I pray that the wait fuels you will joy, to know that the best is yet to come and God still has so much life to give you.
In Advent Joy,