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From your Synod Executive...

Christmas decorations come earlier each year. Christmas music hits the radio around November 1, and holiday tree lightings happen before Thanksgiving. We can buy Godiva Chocolate Advent Calendars all year round. But like most years, Advent 2023 sneaks up on us.

Abraham Heschel once said that the Sabbath does a better job of keeping us, than we do of keeping it. The same, I think, is true of Advent. To settle us into this holy season, I invite you to linger over this poem by Joseph Breighner, which reminds us that Advent began at the dawn of creation, and still is here today.

There Was a Time: An Advent Poem

There was a time when there was no time, When darkness reigned as king, When a formless void was all that there was in the nothingness of eternity, When it was night. But over the void and over the night Love watched. There was a time when time began. It began when Love spoke.

Time began for light and life, for splendor and grandeur. Time began for seas and mountains, for flowers and birds. Time began for the valleys to ring with the songs of life, and for the wilderness to echo with the wailing of wind and howling of animals. And over the earth, Love watched.

There was a time when time began to be recorded. A time when Love breathed and a new creature came to life. A new creature so special that it was in the image and likeness of Love Of Love who is God. And so man was born and the dawn of a new day shone on the world. And over man, Love watched.

But there came a time when the new day faded. A time when man who was like God tried to be God. A time when the creature challenged the creator. A time when man preferred death to life and darkness to light. And so the new day settled into twilight. And over the darkness, Love watched.

There was a time of waiting in the darkness. A time when man waited in the shadows, And all creation groaned in sadness. There was waiting for Love to speak again--for Love to breathe again. And kings and nations and empires rose and faded in the shadows. And Love waited and watched.

Finally, there came a time when Love spoke again. A Word from eternity--a Word Spoken to a girl who belonged to a people not known by the world Spoken to a girl who belonged to a family not known by her people To a girl named Mary. And all creation waited in hushed silence for the girl's answer. And Mary spoke her yes. And Love watched over Mary.

And so there came a time when Love breathed again When Love breathed new life into Mary's yes. And a new day dawned for the World A day when light returned to darkness, when life returned to dispel death And so a day came when Love became man--a mother bore a child. And Love watched over Love--a Father watched His Son.

And, lastly, there came a time when you and I became a part of time. Now is the time that you and I wait. Now we wait to celebrate what the world waited for. And as we wait to celebrate what was at one time, we become a part of that time A time when a new dawn and a new dream and a new creation began for man. And as a part of time, Love waits and Love watches over us.

God bless you this Advent,

Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD Executive


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