Pastor's Blog

Advent Inhale

Advent Inhale

Pastor Adrienne - December 11, 2023

As I have been working on my thesis that is coming due, I have been exploring the idea of how the Body of Christ, namely, the Church, needs a breath of fresh air. Breath is what largely defines life or not—breath indicates life; the lack of breath indicates death. After decades of hearing the infamous “church decline narrative” and experiencing a pandemic that restricted our breath, it seems that the church has been gasping for air. Or, maybe it is not gasping yet, but rather, holding it.

Please understand, I do believe the Church is alive and well. The Holy Spirit is at work, and God is always doing a new thing. And, remember what Christ said in Caesarea Phillippi as he stood at the entrance to the Gates of Hades? After Peter confessed Jesus to be the Messiah, Jesus responded,

“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter,[a] and on this rock[b] I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” (Matt 16: 17-18)

The Church may change form or shape in various ways, but it will last. It was created by the Holy Spirit, the life-giving Breath of God. That is what we celebrate at Pentecost! We give thanks for the divine nature of the Church. It may be full of humans, but it is not a human creation. It was an act of God and is perhaps an ongoing one.

As we go through the seasons throughout the year, winter, spring, summer, and fall, we adapt our rhythms. Winter is a time of stillness. Spring is a time of new life. Summer is a time of blossom. Fall is a time of harvest. Likewise, the Church Year also has its seasons and rhythms. Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost each have their unique dynamics.

If the Body of Christ is the Church, and was created by the Breath of God, I wonder if Seasons of the Church Year might model breath patterns. If each Season had its own breathing pattern, what would they be?

I think Advent would be an inhalation.

Advent feels like breathing in. While it is a busy season, it seems more relaxed in its movement. Relief is coming to a world burdened by sin. While it is weary as it waits for its source of hope, the Christ Child, and for the Christ’s return, the world is getting a divine breath of fresh air: God with us, Emmanuel. In this Season, we are drawn into the manger to witness the first breaths of God made flesh. This God-and-man’s life would make all the difference for ours.

I hope this Season can be a nourishing breath of fresh air for you. May it be a chance to breathe in the beautiful lights, festivities, and gifts of the Season. We can breathe easy for help is on the way.                                                                                                           

Peace, Pastor Adrienne