Here we are again in December, the last page in the calendar. Here we are, it seems, at the end. As 2017 draws to a close, the world begins to look back over the past year, with all its happy times, and dark times, and all those times in between, and try to make sense of it all.
At the same time, for us as Christians, December is anything but an ending. For us, as Christians, December means Advent, and Advent is most certainly about the Beginning.
The first season of our church year, Advent is the season of anticipation — of waiting and hoping, and preparing; a season of bright candles illuminating the longest and darkest of nights, so that we may watch closely for the story of Jesus to begin again.
In reflecting on the year 2017 at St. John’s Church, it very much was a year FULL of waiting and hoping and preparing for the beginning of a new chapter in the story of our parish. We waited and hoped and prepared to receive a new rector, and just when our waiting appeared to be at an end, we experienced an unexpected change of plans, which felt a little like being plunged into a long, dark night in the middle of June.
But for every long, dark night that descends, God gives us bright candles to light the way. For St. John’s, these metaphorical candles shone in many forms: a search committee that quickly regrouped to continue their work; lay leaders who have kept our ministries going (and begun work on new ones); wonderful supply priests who filled our services with enthusiastic and loving support, long-time parishioners who kept showing up, and newcomers who brighten and bless our community with the addition of their presence.
So when we look back on 2017 and try to make sense of it all, one distinct possibility is that God has been teaching St. John’s how to be People of Advent — to be those who wait and hope and light the darkness, and who ever prepare to welcome the miracle of Jesus Christ into the world, not just in December, but every day of the year.
Have a blessed Advent, St. John’s, and a very Merry Christmas.
Stephanie Nevels, Senior Warden
Michael Roman, Junior Warden