Another Advent season under the pandemic’s umbrella. Another season of waiting, when it feels like waiting is all we have done for almost 2 years. And yet, great progress has been made throughout this year of 2021. Many of us are back worshipping in person. Children as young as 5 have been approved to receive the COVID vaccine. And the anticipation of singing those beloved carols, together at-last, on Christmas Eve couldn’t be sweeter. The first female Vice President took office. Juneteenth was declared a National Holiday. And Simone Biles shocked the world by prioritizing her mental health over Olympic gold. We have learned to be kinder to ourselves, and to others, as we all seem to be in a more raw state of mind. There have been times when we have never felt further from God’s loving grace, and yet, God is always there to comfort us when we need it most.
This Advent season, our devotional has been lovingly prepared by 17 members and friends of the Sequoia Association of the Northern California Nevada Conference. Like last year, it has been organized into 4 sections: Dreaming, Longing, Imagining, Discovering and each day has a Biblical text that accompanies it. The voices you will hear are those of hope and progress. Still journeying through these “unprecedented times” but with a bit more vigor, more purpose, more urgency for togetherness than you may have experienced in last year’s writings. There are many different perspectives, and yet one true message: God is Love. It is my sincere hope that you will experience a range of emotions while you journey through Advent with us. May these writings drum up joy, peace, reflection, worry, doubt, heartbreak, and love. May they speak to your soul, and not just the “you” that you present to the outside world. May they offer you a deeper connection to God, and to one another.
Wishing you blessings for this Advent and Christmas season.
First Congregational Church of Fresno