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Advent Waiting: In Darkness and Light; With Thanksgiving and Hope

Advent is a poetic time for us to begin our interim journey together. This season of endings and beginnings, of light and darkness, and especially a season of waiting and hope, calls for our hearts to be open in thanksgiving as we await God’s certainly coming future. We are waiting and its good to wait together. I hope you heard Kelly’s sermon this past Sunday. We wait. But as Kelly said and another good Episcopal preacher, Barbara Brown Taylor, phrased “Our waiting isn’t nothing.”  

For me, I wait with a great sense of thanksgiving for this opportunity and for what will happen. There are many uncertainties, there is the cloud of unknowing and some darkness (metamorphically as I stumble around the Rectory in the middle of the night not knowing my way to the kitchen yet!). But the light of God’s presence in Christ is breaking into the darkness. So, let me thank you for being welcoming light to Tippy and me. We have felt embraced by hospitality and love. From Vestry members fueling our many questions about life in Falls Church and bringing over a beautiful welcome basket our first day, to the children’s Ideas Jar telling us their favorite things to do in the neighborhood and Washington, to a gift of a beautiful boxwood wreath for our front door, to so many lovely, heartfelt conversations…the darkness of being a “stranger in a foreign land” has been pierced by your light in Christ. You have reached out to Tippy and me in wonderful ways and we are so grateful. You have embraced us with God’s light and life and love in Christ.


I am also grateful for the energy, passion and faith you exude as a parish community. There is much competency. There are so many blessings. There are abundant gifts of time, talent, and treasure you share that help God do what God is hoping to do here. So, Advent is not only about our hoping, it’s also about God’s hoping that we will be the people we are created and redeemed to be. And this is really what our hope and all our waiting is about. While we wait and hope, we are what we wait and hope for. I love what you say about being crew more than passengers on this vessel of faith, this ark of salvation of God’s life! 

As we await God’s future to fully unfold, we will find that even during this period of “not yet” there is much light and life in the darkness we walk. We will find there is much joy and peace even before Christmas. We are already home and in gratitude can sing the Lord’s song even when we feel like we might be strangers in a foreign land. For God is always coming to us in Christ. Not just at Christmas, not just 2000 years ago, not just in the beginning of creation billions of years ago, not only at the fulfillment of time. We are at home with God now! For God’s home is with us, now. That’s how I felt the first time I drove into Falls Church, that’s how I felt this past Sunday, and again with our outstanding staff on Tuesday. 

Advent calls for our focused commitment and renewal to what God is doing at and through The Falls Church Episcopal. In a sense, we have already arrived at what we hope and pray for. Let me close with one of my favorite pieces by the Welsh poet R. S. Thomas, Arrival.  

Not conscious

that you have been seeking


you come upon it

the village in the Welsh hills

dust free

with no road out

but the one you came in by.

A bird chimes

from a green tree

the hour that is no hour

you know. The river dawdles

to hold a mirror for you

where you may see yourself

as you are, a traveler

with the moon’s halo

above him, whom has arrived

after long journeying where he

began, catching this

one truth by surprise 

that there is everything to look forward to.



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