It’s always winter but never Christmas
It seems this curse just can’t be lifted
Yet in the midst of all this ice and snow
Our hearts stay warm cause they are filled with hope
This song by Reliant K. reflects on an element of the well-known favourite by C.S. Lewis, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” In Narnia, it’s always winter and never Christmas— until Aslan arrives and ultimately, gives his life, changing everything! Aslan/Jesus dispels the cold and darkness, warms our hearts and fills us with His Spirit of love, joy, peace and hope!
The question is –in the midst of turmoil, tragedy, terrorism and trauma–how do we communicate that Aslan is still on the move, in our midst, a God who cares, has come, is here and coming again?
Perhaps, advent provides us with such an opportunity– To go beyond the sentimental, often trivialized version of the Story of the Christ Child to recognize that Jesus came into a harsh world of cruelty and hate much like todays; and the fact that the Story and it’s hope and promise still endure after centuries of such suffering and evil, says something about the Divine who came in flesh and blood and moved into the neighbourhood.
How are we, His Body, also, flesh and blood in our neighbourhoods?
For the last several years, we have gathered with our neighbours for ‘Reason for the Season’ potlucks every Sunday evening of Advent. As we gather in one another’s homes, connect, enjoy great meals and pause together in the busyness of the season, we experience and look forward to life-giving, ‘Eucharistic’ community.
Each year, we try to incorporate a theme and to find creative ways to listen to our neighbours, deepen our conversations and reflect on the significance of (reason for) the season.
Last year for example, each household made an Advent wreath at our first gathering and as we worked together, we talked about their meaning.
The Advent wreath is a circle reminding us that God has no beginning or end…God is everlasting and complete.
The evergreen symbolizes God’s faithfulness and steadfastness. God is always with us. Creator-Spirit doesn’t change with the seasons; God is unwavering in His commitment to us and all creation.
Red, a Christmas colour, the colour of berries (and other decorations), remind us of God’s love for us- the colour of hearts and roses, wine and blood which Jesus shed for us when He died on the cross.
The four candles are a reminder that Jesus is the Light of the World and that His Coming and His Coming again announce that His Kingdom of hope, peace, joy and love is here and on its way—in spite of all that we see, hear and experience in our, and the world’s, darkest days. Jesus invites us also to share and shine His light!
We light the CANDLE OF PEACE.
The Prophet Isaiah called Jesus Messiah, the Prince of Peace.
If there is one thing our world needs now it is peace.
Peace in war torn countries.
Peace in courtrooms, White House rooms, board rooms and bedrooms.
Peace in our neighbourhoods, schools and communities.
Peace… in our hearts.
Jesus said, “I give you peace, the kind of peace that only I can give. It isn’t like the peace that this world can give. So don’t be worried or afraid.”
What if we took the initiative together with our neighbours and made a statement about our concern for peace?
The Japanese Crane is a meaningful symbol of peace.
A legend said that anyone who folded 1000 origami cranes would get their wish. A young Japanese girl, Sadako Sasaki who had leukemia as a result of the 1945 atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan began folding. Sadako died of her disease in 1955, but she left us with hundreds of paper cranes and the origami paper crane as an international symbol of peace. Since Sadako began the tradition, children around the world have folded many thousands of paper cranes and wished for peace.
Grace and peace be yours –our neighbourhoods and the whole world’s –in abundance!
Now and always, make us instruments of Your Peace, Lord Jesus.
We all made a paper crane and placed it on our wreaths.