It began with an email from the directors of Holden Village, where I was about to volunteer for three weeks. Things were changing in the village once again due to COVID-19. More stringent practices would be reinstated. Everyone who lives, works, visits or volunteers there must be vaccinated. It is in fact the safest place to do all the things I mentioned above. Since the outbreak of the pandemic Holden, this place apart, has not had one case of COVID-19. They had put in place practices that made that possible. Yet, as my time to arrive came up the numbers, due to the Delta variant, were going up in Chelan County. It called upon those already in the community and people like me to pivot, to change directions. It was time for the masks to be put back on again, time for us to gather outside for worship and sessions as well if possible. It caused all to rethink what we were about in this mountain retreat.
The directors asked us to pivot, to change directions once again. Advent to me has always been that call to change directions, to pivot from what we call Ordinary Time to something much more reflective and somber. A call to prepare for a new reality about to burst into our lives in the here and now, not just 2,000 years ago or in the life to come, but in the present. We are pivoting towards the in-breaking of the holy into reality. Advent invites us to pivot away from the calls to cheapen God’s coming into our world and to embrace, reflection, prayer and actions that mirror the ones God reveals in Christ. We’ve always understood that Advent was about watching and waiting as the way was prepared, but it also calls us to action. Advent calls us to a journey of faith, each week revealing a bit more of what Emmanuel will bring to us and call us to as we travel to Bethlehem. The call is to love one’s neighbor, to recognize our own blessedness and to share from that abundance. It’s tangible and is seen as we help those who cannot help themselves. Advent is the pivot from, it’s about me, as it’s about us all.