Thanksgiving week greetings to each of you! I pray that you have a wonderful “Count Your Blessings, Thank You God!” kind of day on Thursday. Even in this very unusual pandemic year of 2020, there are indeed things for which to be thankful, if we look for them.
This coming Sunday, November 29th is the first Sunday of Advent. Some of us will wait to begin decorating for Advent and Christmas until after Thanksgiving, but others, I’ve noticed, already have their Christmas trees up, with festive lights and colorful decorations on display. Other people have apparently noticed this earlier-than-usual holiday decorating phenomenon, too, according to several articles I’ve read recently. These writers reflect on the question, “Why so early this year?”
“Putting up decorations, ‘…reminds us of good times, community and connection, as ‘…it’s an activity we usually share with others,’ clinical psychologist Dr. Georgia Halls recently told Good Housekeeping. As humans, performing rituals helps us mitigate grief, whether it’s the loss of a loved one or a difficult year according to a Harvard Business School study.” Given the events of 2020, many are, quite frankly, excited to celebrate something good, hence why the holiday season has begun early this year.”
I would suggest that, in addition to decorating your home and enjoying the beauty of Christmas tree lights and ornaments, you commit yourself to intentionally keeping Advent. You can do this by attending worship on each of the four Sundays in the Garden Chapel or on Facebook. You can take time to read a daily Advent devotional—there’s a free one you can download from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary at www.pts.edu. or you may order one from the Still-speaking Writer’ Group at <uccresources.com>. You can pray, focusing on the theme of the Advent Wreath candle for that week —Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love.
I look forward to journeying with you through this Advent season of preparation for the arrival of the One who is the embodiment of hope, peace, joy, and love. May your hearts be cheered by the beauty of the season, whenever it begins, and by the assurance that Christmas will come, even in a pandemic.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Candyclick here to download this week's bulletin!