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Autumn Foliage

My Favorite Season

It’s Advent! I know I say this about each season but, “This is one of my favorite seasons!” In these weeks leading up to Christmas, we can prepare our hearts, our minds, our households, our spirits, our lives to receive the great good news the angels’ sang to the shepherds: “ of great joy for all the people: for unto you is born...a Savior”.

This season, Advent, invites us to “make ready”. In Minnesota, they say there are two seasons: Winter and road repair. In both examples, there is work to do. What is the making ready that we are to be about in Advent? A foundational concept is found in the Jewish words tikum olam. It means to repair the world. God invites us; asks us to be a partner with the Lord in the work of repairing the world!

This is the continual work of God’s grace and redemption. What privilege, what fulfillment, what purpose in participating in the restoration of the “world God so loves!” A world so loved by God that God gave God’s very Son: the infant we celebrate, love, and adore in the manger.

This repair happens in small and big ways. Sometimes the repair is obvious, noticeable. Sometimes it is quiet, hidden. But it does not happen unless you give yourself to the work of making the world more gentle and just. It doesn’t happen unless we get about the work of repairing. In Advent, the words of John the baptizer are frequently quoted, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make God’s paths straight.” This is not always easy and gentle work. Ann Med- lock and John Grahm, leaders of the Giraffe Project, have made it their life’s work to gather and share the stories of folks who have helped others, who have given themselves to the repair of the world. They call these people giraffes because they “stick their necks out.....for what they believe in.” Kindness and courage are touchstones for living a life that gives hope and healing. Sometimes it is hard work to do this work of repairing the world. And yet, sometimes it is, as Mother Teresa said, “as simple and as common as the laughter of a child.”

In these days and weeks before Christmas, we need to be intentional and active in preparing through the repairing work of mercy and justice. Let us repair relationships worn down by much too busy schedules and apathy. Let us repair ourselves through prayer, scripture read- ing, and laughter with others. Let us repair our community with service, inclusion, compassion, and forgiveness. And let us repair our world in sharing Christ with each and with all.

May you and all your loved ones have a most blessed and merriest of Christmases! Be God’s, (And Merry, Merry Christmas!)

Pastor Jim

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