November has come and it is quickly going. Seasons are changing, temperatures are getting cooler, and Advent has begun. You, like me, might be wondering how we are here already – December, the wrapping up of 2022, time for Christmas music on the radio, and preparing for the celebration of Christ’s birth.
Similarly, you might also be wondering where the year has gone – it has, like time often does, simultaneously seemed to fly by in a blink, from summer days to the fading light of winter, and it feels as though last December was a long, long time ago. A lot has happened in our community, nation, and world since last Christmas. We continue to pray for places in the midst of war and violence, for God’s peace to be known. We lift praises alongside those for whom there have been joyous additions or changes in these past months, those for whom this season will look different because of new family members or friends added to the table. And, I am mindful of those for whom this year, or these past years, have looked different, time marked by grief, loss, or hard changes, those who may have empty spaces at their tables.
If you have lost a loved one or are experiencing grief, I invite you to join us this Thursday, December 1, at noon in the sanctuary. We will have a time of prayer, Scripture reading, musical reflection, singing, and lighting of candles as we have space to grieve and remember together, to mark that this season might look different for you.
As we think about the chairs added at our tables and those that might sit empty, I cannot help but think of the table we will all gather around this Sunday as we partake in Communion. As we partake in the bread and juice of the Lord’s Supper, we are, in that moment, ascended with Christ in heaven, united with all believers of the body around one table. Although our individual tables might look different this year, I cannot help but smile as I think of the one table at which we all gather – believers of all places and all times, those who have gone before us and us today, all united as the body of Christ.
While our individual and our corporate worlds might feel or look utterly different from last year, we live in hope as we gather around the table. We gather in hope as that participation in the life-giving love of Christ never changes. We live in hope as we enter this season, as we strive to look for and to carry the light.
We live in hope as we read the Scriptures, as we read the promise of Isaiah to the people waiting in exile, a promise that was fulfilled for the people of Israel as they returned to their land, and a promise fulfilled for all of us in a new way in Christ:
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.
For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you.
Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
Lift up your eyes and look around; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from far away, and your daughters shall be carried on their nurses’ arms.
Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and rejoice; because the abundance of the seas shall be brought to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you”
– Isaiah 60:1-5
Let us look to the light of Christ which has come, the brightness of his dawn to which all will turn. Let us lift our eyes and gather together, rejoicing in the gift of life that Christ offers.