Happy New Year! This week, yes the first week of December marks the beginning of a new Church Calendar Year. The Church calendar always begins with Advent, which are the four Sundays proceeding December 25. So along with Happy New Year, I can also proclaim, “Happy Advent!”, but I don’t know if anyone does that. Advent is meant to be a time of preparation, a time to prepare for the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ. Part of me says here at Pilgrim Center we should be really good at preparing for events, we spend an awful lot of time doing that. We have weekly staff meetings in which we look ahead to the events coming up on our calendar and we discuss what needs to be accomplished ahead of time for those events to occur.
During the weeks of summer camp our staff meeting consists of looking ahead to the next week and appropriately allocating the staff and resources for the coming week. When we don’t have campers on site we are looking at the needs of whatever retreat is occurring. If it is quilters, then the dining halls need to be setup differently than if it is a large youth retreat. If it is a youth retreat, then maybe we need to allocate staff to lead and plan activities. In our kitchen we look at the number of people who are dining and what their specific dietary needs might be and the menu is then planned accordingly. In the world of facilities it seems like I am constantly planning ahead for the next project. Last week I worked at getting one of our dining halls painted in preparation for new flooring being installed. The last two days the flooring company worked at preparing the existing floor for a new floor that will be installed. After the floor is installed I then need to make preparations for installing new baseboards. Our world is full of preparations for what is going to happen next.
All of this preparing makes me wonder how we might be preparing for the birthday of Jesus. As a society we make all sorts of preparations for Christmas, we put up lots of decorations, we bake lots of cookies, attend lots of parties and purchase lots of presents, but how much of this really has to do with preparing for Jesus’ birthday? The four weeks of Advent traditionally follow the themes of hope, peace, joy, and love. What does it look like if we spend time over the next four weeks pondering how these themes play a role in our lives? How does hope, peace, joy, and love affect what we do and how we interact with the world around us? Happy Advent folks! Let the preparations begin!
~ Rev. Nathan Athorp