“IT’S TIIIIIIME!” These two words rang out on November 1st in avideo put out by singer Mariah Carey ushering in the holiday season. A running joke across the internet is that as soon as Halloween is over it is time for the Christmas songs to begin, and Mariah’s “All I Want for Christmas” will again start playing in every retail store for the next two months. As much as I admire Ms. Carey for her music career over all these years, I screamed back at my phone “NO IT’S NOT!”
It is a well-known fact that I am a huge music fan of all kinds, andI especially adore Christmas carols and hymns. However, I am of the mindset that not only Thanksgiving needs to have its holiday time, but that the season of Advent needs to have its due as well. A comment made over the years in this call is that people want to sing more Christmas hymns during the month of December. But because I am in charge of picking the hymns each year, I stick with the Advent hymns before December 24th, and I imagine I don’t win a lot of brownie points with that decision.
I was asked by the Worship and Music Committee at Siloa to tryand incorporate more Christmas hymns throughout the month, and I will admit, I tried my hardest this year to do so. But I have to tell you, it is really hard for me to think about singing hymns referencing the baby Jesus on December 3rd. For goodness sake, the Virgin Mary wasn’t even in labor at that time! ;)
In all seriousness though, the season of Advent is similar to theseason of Lent in that it is a period of waiting. It’s a season that helps prepare us for the big holiday. And we are not a society that likes to wait. We are impatient - and I know of a few people who already have their Christmas trees up. By no means am I shaming any Christmas lovers out there, but I encourage you to think about giving the Advent season some love as well.
The Bible Project describes Advent this way: “Advent means"arrival" and signifies the start of an event or the arrival of a person. In Christian communities around the world, Advent refers to a four-week season of remembering and celebrating the arrival of Jesus on Earth. It’s a time to reflect on the unexpected nature of Jesus’ humble birth and join in the anticipation of when he will come again to reunite Heaven and Earth once and for all.”
As we enter into Advent this year, I encourage you to reflect onthe themes of the season: Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy. Devote a week to each theme and see how it changes your waiting time until Christmas. What hope does the birth of Jesus bring to the world? How do you see peace in your lives? Where do you experience the love of Christ around you? And finally we can experience the joy of the Christmas season in its time.
For other Advent lovers like myself, there will be ONE Sundaymorning worship held on Sunday the 24th before we switch to Christmas Eve services later in the day. Salem will host a normal Sunday morning worship at 10:30am that day to wrap up the Advent season and then we will transition to Christmas Eve at 4:00pm service at Siloa and 6:00pm service at Salem. And of course for those early birds on Christmas morning Julotta service will be held at 6:00am at Salem.
Please also consider attending the Blue Christmas service to beheld on Thursday, December 21st at 7:00pm at Salem. This year it will actually land ON the winter solstice so it truly will be held on the longest night of the year. This service is suited for folks who are feeling a little “blue” around the holiday season whether that is due to grief, trauma, loneliness, or anything else going on in their lives that is hindering them from feeling the Christmas spirit.
All in all, this month is full of opportunities to prepare our heartsand minds for the arrival of the Christ Child. I look forward toworshiping with you this Advent and Christmas!
Pastor Mary Fielprmaryfiel@gmail.com (507) 525-3909 cell