Pastoral ponderings . . .

Advent is one of two seasons in the church year that is set aside by our faithful ancestors as a time of intentional waiting. It’s a time meant to be pregnant with meaning.  Much like pregnancy itself, it’s a time for being mindful of something new that is growing in secret.

Waiting can be a hopeful time.  A joyful time.  Expecting an outcome seen by generations before. It can also be a time of dread.  A time of brooding in hopelessness, anxiety, or despair that nothing new will come; just a repeat of the same disappointments; of hopes crushed yet again.

Where is God in this midst of waiting?  I believe God is in the creativity.God is Creator.Our own creativity partners us with God's energy and vision forhumanity.What would Christ do with the creativity we ourselves possess?  Thisis where I see the values of Christ getting lived out:   in our attempt toanswer such questions together.

Waiting often creates anxiety and impatience in us.  Energy getstrapped inside us.  Sometimes we feel as if we could explode.  How dowe release the energy of anxiety and impatience in ways that aren'thurtful to ourselves or others?Mr Rogers sang, "let's think of something to do while we're waiting,anticipating . . . "  There are Doing ways of waiting, releasingenergy while we wait: knitting, writing letters, reading, making art,cooking food, singing songs, running and swimming. There are yelling into a pillow ways, pounding on a pillow ways.

There are also quiet ways like just Being.  Sitting with ourfeelings in the presence of God.  Talking to God about how we feel. Practicing listening to God.  These are quiet ways of waiting thatwere practiced by our faithful ancestors in the Church.They practiced paying attention to their breath. They practiced listening to their bodies.They practiced asking themselves what their eyes were seeing.  Whattheir ears were hearing.  What their noses could smell as they satquietly.  “God could talk to us in all of these things,” they said.  God could reassure us that God was there too:  waiting with them.  Feelingtheir feelings with them.  Reassuring them while they waited.

Prayer shawls are a wonderful thing.Alvina has made prayer shawls for people.She prays for the person while she makes them a warm cozy blanket towrap themselves in.They wrap themselves in her prayers for them.I think it's a wonderful way to think about God waiting with us, wrapping usin love and prayers; feeling our feelings with us. 

Sitting quietlywith God is another healthy way to express that pent up energy we often feelwhen we're waiting.  Maybe we stand up again after sitting with God.  Shakeourselves off.  Stretch. Go for a walk.  See what our eyes can see in nature. Hear, smell, wonder; releasing pent-up energy as we go.  What thoughtscome to us?  Is that God saying something reassuring to us? 

I think this was a primary way our faithful ancestors in the Church practiced waiting in the season of Advent.

Advent is also the season of the new year in the Church calendar. TheGreat Saga begins again:  "A long time ago in a place far, far away .. . an angel named Gabriel came to a woman named Mary, and said . . . "God begins a relationship with humanity, in a conversation.Much like any of us do.And that relationship begins with a season of waiting.  Expectation. 
A time pregnant with meaning, filled with hardship and uncertainty forthe young woman and her partner.  But they wait together. They journey together when an emperor uproots them in the most inconvenient anddifficult time imaginable for her.  And somehow along the way, God
provides a safe place for heras Mary waits, listens, watches, chooses, and endures her choices.

God's creativity is embodied within her.Creativity that expresses itself in us, through our own Inner Child.Connecting with, and being inspired by that Inner Child, immerses usin the natural creativity of children.  "A lion and a lamb shall liedown in peace together.  And a little child shall lead them."  When we let the children lead, we move naturally into a world of creativity.

That's the co-creating journey our faithful ancestors callus into in the waiting season of Advent. Walk into creativity with your Inner Child.  And prepare for wonder.              – Pastor David