An Advent Message from Bishop Adams
Dear People of Central New York,
I am not one to throw water on the parade of holiday festivities and cultural celebrations at this time of the year. I do lament the acts of violence which occurred in various stores over the last few days and shown on CNN over and over, but I am no scrooge. It does lead me to ask, however, at least rhetorically: Is the attempt to keep a faithful Advent in a culture such as ours worth it? After all, Advent didn't even exist on the liturgical calendar in a universal way until the 6th century. Why bother?
Advent is a season of contradiction and contrast. It begins at the end, that is, with the consummation of all history, and it ends at the beginning, with the birth of the Messiah. It is a season of soberness and restraint in the midst of conspicuous consumption where we get our identity not by what we produce, but by what we consume. Advent is a season of waiting and patience in a world of frenzy and mania - back to images on CNN.
Advent is definitely counter-cultural. It is swimming against the tide. So again I ask, do we need it? I would suggest that it indeed offers us something that is good for our soul's health. Perhaps in its flow it can assist us "to cast away the works of darkness and put on the armor of light." I am not saying that we must give up the parties or the decorating, but we do need the balance it offers. It helps us keep perspective. Advent remains as a call off of the treadmill to a place where we wait, we hope and prepare in the darkness for Christ's coming into the very life we live, in the day-to-day ordinariness of all we do and are. I believe it was Blaise Pascal who said that the most radical thing we can do is be quiet for ten minutes.
Ours is the work of holiness. As long as peace and justice remain elusive on this earth and in our communities, we must be on the watch and be ready to respond. Advent? It is good for the soul. It is good for the world.
The following is the text of Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori’s Advent Message 2013.
Presiding Bishop Advent Message 2013
Advent is a time of waiting and for many people it’s a time to reflect on what Mary must have experienced as she waited for the birth of this unusual child.
You may never have been pregnant or lived with someone who was, but put yourself in her place for a while. Consider what it would have been like to have a new life growing within you. And reflect on what new is growing within you this season of Advent.
What new concern is growing for the people around you? What new burden is on your heart for the woes of the world? What new possibility do you see emerging in the world around you, and how might you be part of that?
Advent is a quieter time of the year in the Church’s understanding. It’s a time to be still and listen, listen deep within to what is growing, ready to emerge into new life.
And as the season for the birth of the Christ Child arrives, I would encourage you to consider how you yourself will be present in the world in a new way this year. How will you give evidence of love incarnate to the world around you?
I pray that you have a blessed and joyful and peace-filled Advent. God be with you.