Doing a new thing

This reflection is by Cn. J. Davey Gerhard is the Executive Director of TENS. He lives in San Francisco, California where he works on diocesan staff for DioCal and worships at Holy Innocents in Noe Valley.

The liminal space of Advent asks much of us. It is an existential tension between darkness and light, waiting and receiving, not having and having. We are asked to step into a memory we have never had as modern Christians – that time before the plan of salvation was incarnate in the Son of God; and we are asked to step into a miracle we can hardly fathom – the birth of a child, heralded by an angel and crowned as king, an outcast even before he was born. Advent is full of dichotomy. 

As we travel through this short season we journey with the very sun. In the Northern Hemisphere we note the amount of light in the day lessens dramatically, the air around us cools, nature responds with starkness where once there was lush green. Change is so perceptible that it surprises us, no matter how many times we have experienced this season of waiting. 

In such a time of change, we might look for what is constant, what is comfort. We seek the ideas, patterns, and moments that anchor us, that remind us that we have been here before and we will move through this again. We take stock of what roots us in our lives. 

Many of us look to family at this time of year. Some of us focus on what is to come. In Church we learn of the story of our salvation, and the plans in place to bring everything into its completion. Through all of this we rely on the promise God made to God’s people, a promise of abundance so spectacular that it can only come from an extravagant, generous God. A God who will lend us a piece of Their divinity in
the humanity of flesh like ours. We are rooted in abundance. We are people of Advent Hope. 

Questions for Reflection: What tensions do you experience in Advent and how do you reconcile them? In what ways do you experience abundance even when the skies are heavy and the nights are long?