It is that time – time when we begin to anticipate the beginning of a new church year. As we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent (just 4 Sundays before Christmas) we also welcome the New Year in the church and the cycle begins – again. Advent is a time when our focus turns to all the things necessary to prepare for the celebration of God’s presence in this world. Within the weeks before Christmas, we hear stories of many people in preparation. Angels appear announcing great things, announcing new birth and a new world. This announcement creates a stir of excitement and concern.
Just beyond these challenging moments unfolds a vision of God’s kingdom among us.
It takes time for all of these wonders to occur. We find ourselves waiting with anticipation and in need of encouragement. Our attention is short and we are easily tested. The need for hope and patience is so important. May this ‘image’ bring peace when needed and the courage to hope.
”There is a garden beyond the shadows, a place of rest and renewal. You may not be able to see it yet, not through the swirl of things that cloud your vision, but it is there. And in time you will get there. You will step through the darkness to the light just on the other side of sorrow. You will find what you are looking for, what you need. I do not say this because I am trying to make you feel better. Right now the only thing that will make you feel better is hope. I say the truth and that truth is your first glimpse of the garden beyond the shadows. The hope is up to you.”