Advent is always a season of waiting. We’re waiting for Christmas to open our presents. We’re waiting for Jesus, waiting for his birth. We’re waiting for Jesus, waiting for the Kingdom to be fully here. We’re waiting for Jesus, waiting for his return. Waiting, and watching…
While we wait, we are called to be church, watching over one another in love. The book of Acts records Paul’s farewell speech to the disciples at Ephesus. In Acts 20:28, he tells them, “Now it’s up to you. Be on your toes—both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep. The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people—God’s people they are—to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for.” While we wait, we are called to be church, watching over one another in love.
Marie died on Christmas day. It was unexpected. She had been in the nursing home, but there were no signs or signals. That year, her grandson had come home from college for the first time in years. Her son was scheduled to play piano for the church the next day, Sunday services. When I went to the house to visit, it was a blue Christmas. The gifts were all unopened. The tree wasn’t even plugged in and stood dark in the corner.
I think about her family each Christmas now, because I know that people die on holidays and ordinary days. For many, Christmas has a blue shade of sorrow. For many, there is an empty chair at the table. For many, there is sadness in the carols we sing.
God says it is up to us as Christians. God has trusted us to watch over one another. Watch for those who need more than a cup of good cheer. Watch over the sheep. Remember them in your prayers and don’t forget to be near them in their grief. Advent is a season of waiting and watching.