I’m four days late wishing my Christian friends a happy new year.  Sunday was the first Sunday in Advent, marking the beginning of the liturgical year, as we look forward once again to Christ’s coming into the world.  The liturgical color for this season is blue, which signifies hope.  It is a season of waiting.

The waiting on the surface level is the waiting for Christmas which, in contrast to the secular season, only begins on December 25.  Children’s advent calendars mark the days with little doors to open on each day, until the door for December 25 reveals a manger scene.

There is a deeper level to advent waiting for which there is no calendar.  We do not know “the day or the hour” for Christ’s return.  Many people still expect a physical return, in spite of nearly 2,000 years in which it has not happened.  Others speak of Christ coming into our hearts and lives.  I tend to think of growing into Christness, rather than Christ coming to me.  Different metaphors work for different folks.

We had a splendid sunrise on December 1, which makes a good image for advent and new beginnings.  The rising sun is received by the cloud in brilliant color.  As the sun rises, the cloud blocks it.  We tend to be less aware, less appreciative of the sun when the clouds are really thick.  But it is there, making what was night into day, too powerful to be fully obscured.

December Sunrise

December Sunrise