As we are already in December, many of you have put up Christmas trees and lights, been to a party or two, and have purchased some or all of the gifts that are on your list. And with 18 days remaining there will be more things that are a part of the ‘normalcy’ of the season. Perhaps you will go look at lights downtown or at Newfields. Perhaps you will send actual cards with stamps on them! And perhaps, instead of being mindful, engaged, peace-filled, and joyful you are already finding yourself ramping up in your inner being and becoming stressed, uptight and exhausted. Quick! Look in the mirror to see if you are turning green and Grinch-like or your face has deepening frowny lines like Ebenezer Scrooge.
If you find this to be your reality, friends, then we are truly sorry and it is why we invite you to Advent. By engaging in this practice, and it is a practice, you are inviting your soul to slow down, to reflect, and to give thanks for God’s great gifts and generosity. In other words, you are allowing yourself to experience God ‘with us.’ (This coming Sunday we will look at that more closely.) In worship each week throughout the Advent season we will sing familiar songs, we will light candles, we will hear one more part of the story and we will talk to one another as friends and as a family of faith. It is purposeful and it is intentional. And YOU are invited to this time. Come. Come on purpose. Come to have your soul filled with God’s gifts, God’s presence. Come to sit with others, to enjoy their company, to just be together. Come to catch your breath. Come.
May your heart, mind and soul be fully opened to the peace and goodwill that God intends to bestow upon you. Amen and amen!

"Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus." 

"How will this be?" Mary asked.

And Gabriel answered, "Nothing is impossible with God!"