Preparing the Way (while looking beyond)

Working for the Church constantly puts you in odd head spaces. A priest acquaintance of mine who runs Forward Movement (they produce Forward Day by Day among other things) posted a couple of weeks ago on Facebook about breaking out his Lent playlist so he could write Lenten reflections while sitting in a space that was currently decorated for Christmas.

This type of seasonal dichotomy, of knowing that we are in the season of preparation, but also knowing that we are constantly tasked with looking ahead to the next thing, puts one at odds with the messages and teachings we’re sharing throughout this season. How can we be preparing the way for the Christ child to come when we need to be ready to move on to the Season after Epiphany, to cementing the formation plan for Lent, to beginning the liturgical discussions around Holy Week and Easter. Jesus isn’t even here yet, and we’re already talking about how we will mark his death and celebrate his resurrection.

In many ways, this is to be expected. We live in a society that operates on cyclical patterns of preparing, executing, and preparing again. We are comfortable in these patterns and comfortable in the pressure to have the next thing already in the works, ready to go, ready to be planned for and executed.

But, that is not what our task is in this season of Advent. Our task is to prepare, full stop. Once Jesus gets here, we can begin those conversations about what it’s going to look like to follow the course of his ministry through Easter and beyond.

So, even though we have done the work of being prepared for the next season (because, we are human after all), this week and next I will not share those plans for the future in this space. Rather, I call you to prepare yourself this week for the arrival of Christ.

Come and sing loud and boisterous with us on Wednesday, enjoying cocoa, cookies, & carols. Come and join us on Sunday to hear the Song of Mary, the Magnificat, and join us in welcoming Ella Louise Mather into the church as we baptize her. Come and join us on Monday to celebrate the arrival of Christ in our midst. And between now and then, don’t look beyond, but rather prepare the way, here, now, so that when Christ comes among us, you have prepared a warm place in your heart for him to lay his head at rest.

I look forward to preparing the way with you this last week of Advent.

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