The Unitarian Universalist Association says this about 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 and Peace.”
This first Sunday is about awaiting the Coming of Hope. In the darkest of days, those who were awaiting liberation needed hope. Jesus’ message was one of promise, promise that people who others scorned could be treated with respect and find their own path to meaning and redemption. Jesus preached a message of love and said that people coming together in community was a great act of hope and faith. The community formed by Jesus of Nazareth was so strong that after his death, it carried on his teachings about hope. We will gather in this spirit as we light the first candle on the Advent Wreath this Sunday.
We hope that we will find the courage to keep speaking our own truths. And that we will also, at the same time, and perhaps paradoxically, find the ability to hear the truths of others. We hope that we will take the time to connect with the most precious people and life-giving activities in our lives, while, at the same time, not turning away from a time which needs our attention. We hope that we will be willing to keep holding onto a vision of life where all have safety and health and respect, while also finding the fortitude to do the hard work to make that possible in a nation divided by fear and anger.
If ever there was a year when we need to be reminded of our commitment to hope, love, joy and peace, this would be this year. Wherever you are this Sunday, take a moment to kindle the flame of hope. In the spirit of love and unity, Leslie