The Third Sunday of Advent
This Christmas season I pray for you to open yourself to God’s mercy and respond to his love by creating room for others, including those who are struggling to find joy in an otherwise happy season. I challenge you to think more broadly about Christmas as a time when people will not only celebrate but also might grieve.
John the Baptist is a good figure to reflect on in this season. The Baptist preached not just to tax collectors and soldiers, but also to everyday people who had been crushed by an unjust society and were desperate for a word of comfort. They had come to take shelter in God’s word and to be baptized. The Baptist was an exceptional preacher because he could both challenge those who were comfortable in their self-fabricated sense of peace, as well as comfort those who questioned whether God’s mercy included them. He implored us to take care of those in need. Share clothing. Share food. Share power. Share grief.
Yes, share grief. Advent is supposed to be a peaceful time of quiet waiting for the light of Christ to take us away from our despair, but for many, the time is filled with grief. Our St. Thomas community includes those grieving – for the loss of loved ones or the separation from their families or the atrocities against humanity both at home and abroad.
Stand with them in their difficult times so they do not feel so lonely in the darkness. Words alone cannot heal our suffering and grief, and human efforts alone could not gather the fragments of our broken souls, but there is one God who welcomes us and our grief during the Advent season. Even when life does not feel fair, or you find yourself thinking that because the Advent season is supposed to be joyful, you therefore have no place, know that you do have a place in God’s heart and there is indeed room for you, even in grief, in this holy and sacred season.