Having a portion of the Passion narrative during Advent seems a bit odd. After all, we are preparing for the coming into the world of the divine presence, the light shining in the darkness. And our reading today (and tomorrow) is about the start of the extinguishing of that human life. Odd and a bit disconcerting.
Yet, Advent is really about preparing ourselves for endings and the beginning of something(s) new. With that in mind, perhaps dwelling for a time in a portion of the Passion story is not so unusual. This is a sharp reminder to us of Advent's purpose, and the kind of preparation we should be focusing on, other than gift buying and holiday parties. Although those are important too, perhaps today's reading can remind us that for a short time today we can think about, pray about, what we should end in our lives to better enable us to live into the new-found kingdom Jesus is bringing into the world. What can we wrap up and leave at the base of a manger and move on from? Anger at someone? Sadness because of some loss we have suffered? Resentment at our predicament or position in life? What grief, anxiety or trouble can we wrap into a present and give to God as an ending this Advent. These wrapped gifts of our own passions can help ready ourselves for the new that is coming.....
Copyright 2010, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.