One of the gifts the November time change gives us is a gift I don’t usually embrace. The sun is setting earlier which gives me an opportunity to see something vibrant and colorful. But the sun sets at the same time when my day is transitioning. I race from the church to two different schools to pick up my kids. I take them home, unpack bags, feed cats and try to figure out what’s for dinner. In the middle of this daily busyness, I rarely notice the sky turning orange and red as the sun sets. I miss the best sunsets. Once my night calms down, at the moment when the sky turns a deep blue, my social media feeds are filled with pictures of the beautiful sunset I just missed. I experience the reds, oranges and golds that just happened in the deep blue moment before night begins. I try to remind myself to take a break and make time to look out the window tomorrow. But that reminder rarely sticks. My experience of the vibrant color-filled sky is limited to those moments when they sky is a deep blue.
The season of Advent is a season of blue. The cloth and fabric decorating our church mimics the blue color in the sky right before dawn breaks. But I think that blue matches the color that appears right after a sunset. Both of these moments are when we have just enough light to see. We remember the beautiful colors of the day that we just experienced and we look forward to dawn that’s about to come. It’s at these moments, I think, when our hope in Christ feels very real. We might be experiencing our own moments of being blue, waiting for something life-giving to come. We might feel as if the best moments of our lives are in our past, and we are in the sunset of our lives. We might long for the vibrant colors we have never seen or wish for a return to a past that, in hindsight, always looks better than they truly were. The deep blue moments in our lives can feel very long. But the story of Jesus is a story where the moments of deep blue are overcome by a love that shines bright. As followers of Jesus, we know Jesus has come. He walked on earth, gave hope to the hopeless and conquered death itself. There were times in his story when it looked like the sun had set, but a sun that sets is also a son that will soon rise.
This year Christmas Eve is on a Sunday. We will celebrate with our traditional evening worship at 5:00 pm and 10:30 pm (note the new time). But we will also mark the final Sunday of Advent that morning with one service at 10 am. Christmas is exciting, but Advent reminds us that we are people always rooted in the hope that the deep blue in this world is not God’s final word. I invite you to attend church twice this 24th. Spend the morning knowing that Jesus is with you even in the deep blue moments of your lives. And then celebrate that evening with all of God’s people because, in Jesus, a new day for the entire world has broken.
See you in church!