Jesus said to his disciples, "In those days, after that suffering,
- the sun will be darkened,
- and the moon will not give its light,
- and the stars will be falling from heaven,
- and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
"From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
"But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake-- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake." Mark 13:24-37
It is Advent 1, the time when the church begins a new year, when everything turns from the end of time to its beginning. Tomorrow I will continue a series that I started last year. Letter from Mary on her way to Bethlehem. Her voice is almost silent in the scriptures and yet she carried the Savior of the world. She is the turning point, the vessel of love incarnate. So, as we light our first candles on the wreath, let us imagine the challenges that come with bearing the Christ child into the world. Let us be awake to the real dangers of God with us.
Today, I ask God to prepare my heart and soul for a new season. May the accumulated burdens we are all bearing be set aside, as we wait anew for Christ, tender and vulnerable, God brought forth among us. May we not shirk our humanity but gain compassion day by day as we move forward in the mystery of God's presence in the world with us, now and forever.