Advent is a season of preparation, of longing, of hope and of wonder. We prepare our homes and our hearts for the celebration of Christmas. During this season we long for the fulfillment of God’s peace in our personal lives and in the world around us. During this season we acknowledge our brokenness and put our trust in a hope that has been proclaimed by the Prophet Isaiah, by John, and by Paul. During this season we prepare to celebrate a birth two thousand years ago even as we look forward to Christ’s second coming.
Advent is especially poignant when a congregation is in the midst of a search for a new pastor. As a church we are preparing, hoping and longing for the day when the church installs a new pastor. We wonder what God has in store as we seek new creative ways to engage our community with the good news we know so well. We have both doubts and hope. We hope and pray and question.
As a congregation we are pregnant with hope. But pregnancy also brings doubts and questions and prayer. Can you imagine what it must have been like for the young mother to be in the middle of those sleepless nights? I wonder what she thought about during those periods of morning sickness. What did she dream about when she felt the baby boy move in her womb? How did she handle the uncomfortable whispers from those around her?
And I wonder what thoughts Joseph had as he learned Mary was pregnant. What was it like to be confronted and comforted by an angel? Matthew never answers this question.
Both Mary and Joseph were chosen to usher in a new world order through something as common as a pregnancy. As a congregation we too are being asked to bring about something new. It might not be at the same level as a new world order but it is certainly something very big for this faith community.
I admit this pregnancy has been long and we still have a ways to go. A great deal of work has been done by session and the staff to prepare the way for a new pastor. Just as a couple prepares a house for a new baby, the church has been busy clearing, cleaning, repairing and making room for a new pastor and a new vision.
As we enter this season of Advent I encourage you to pray for the Pastor Nominating Committee. In addition to prayer, I encourage you to prepare both your hearts and your homes for a new pastor, and even more importantly, the second coming of the one who brings peace and hope and love to us all.