Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

In the soft glow of Thanksgiving’s warmth, our hearts resonate with the echoes of gratitude and generosity. We’ve woven threads of love into the tapestry of community, creating a vibrant mosaic of shared blessings. Yet, as the autumn leaves surrender to the inevitable chill, we find ourselves standing at the threshold of a new season — Advent.

In the spirit of the story of God to which we listen closely, we embrace this transition not as a departure from gratitude but as a journey deeper into its essence. Rachel Held Evans, a voice that resonated with many, once wrote, “Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides.”

As we step into Advent, we carry this joy with us. We are not leaving gratitude behind; rather, we are allowing it to guide our steps into a season pregnant with anticipation. Advent beckons us to a sacred pause, inviting us to dwell in the mystery of waiting. Our theology teaches us that waiting is not passive but active, a hopeful expectation grounded in God’s promises.

Like Rachel Held Evans, we find beauty in the tension of the now and the not-yet. Advent is a season of paradox, where we are both grateful for the Incarnation and eagerly awaiting its fuller revelation. The liturgical hues shift from earthy tones to the deep blues of hope, signaling a time of reflection, longing, and preparation.

Next Sunday, as we light the first candle on the Advent wreath, let’s carry the flame of gratitude into the coming weeks. Let’s embrace too the mystery of waiting in the growing darkness, knowing that the light we await is the fulfillment of our deepest yearnings. In this transition, may we discover that gratitude and hope are not opposing forces but companions on the journey of faith.

May God’s peace find you today. -Pastor Peter

Let us pray… God of generosity and hope, we give thanks for all we have received and we long for all that is yet to come. May your steadfast promises hold us together in this tension of the now and not-yet. Amen.