In the quiet hush of Advent, we find ourselves waiting on tiptoe, our hearts tuned to the ancient promises whispered through the prophet Jeremiah. Like a gentle breeze that stirs the soul, these words invite us to embrace the hope that dances on the edges of our longing.
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.
Yesterday, while many of us were celebrating a day of Thanksgiving, some of our Native neighbors marked the occasion as a “Day of Mourning.” This practice and the accompanying solemn commemorations serve as a way to to honor Native ancestors and their stories, while fostering greater awareness and understanding among the public about the destructive history of the white Europeans that colonized the lands which were their homes.
Yesterday, I shared the story of my friend and colleague Steve Sylvester, whose son died in a tragic accident earlier this year and for whom our congregation had hosted a funeral . As Steve reflected on the past few months, he was able to recognize that, all thing considered, he was doing ok. As much as this kind of grief could have the capacity to cripple anyone, Steve was surprised by how he has been able to keep going. And he credits his faith as the place from which he’s drawn whatever strength he’s needed to get through each new day. Steve said, “I’m thankful that I believed before I had to.”
I’ve spent my fair share of time in vineyards and wineries; each one is different. In the big business of winemaking, there are so many beautiful facilities, funded by big-monied interests eager to promote a high value experience with their gleaming tasting rooms and temples to the finer things in life. But I have always preferred visiting the wineries willing to show an altogether different side of winemaking, the side that is messy with dirt and leaves and spilled grape juice.