Dear Alpine Friends–

As of the writing of this, I am looking forward to our first Sunday together this weekend at both 8:00 and 10:00. I enjoyed meeting many of you at the Thanksgiving meal worship service and meal last Tuesday, but I know that I have a lot of names to learn. Please be patient with me.

Patience is a quality that underlies the season of Advent, which marks the beginning of the church year and also begins this Sunday. Advent is itself not about patience, but about waiting. We can wait patiently or impatiently, but we do wait.

As children, the waiting of Advent is for Christmas Day to arrive, and with it, all of the family  traditions that accompany it. Including cookies and presents. We were all children at one time, and even those of us who are no longer children can still see Christmas through a child’s eyes.

But in a church year that begins in December, Advent is even more about waiting for Jesus in a different way. We wait not only for a remembrance of his birth, but for his return, when heaven and earth are fully and forever joined, and when Jesus’ saving work continues without interference and without interruption.

Each Sunday in Advent we light a candle, and each candle has historically represented one of God’s gifts to us. This week was the candle of Hope; December 10 is Peace; December 17 is Joy, and December 24 (morning) is Love.

Reflecting back to what I said about hope Sunday morning, here’s something to think about. When we speak of hope in our daily conversation, it is often about preferences: “I hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow.” Or about wishes: “I hope the teacher doesn’t call on me.” But Advent hope is closer to expectation. It’s grounded in God’s historic actions, and in God’s promises. We hope that the same Jesus whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, whose suffering and death we remember on Good Friday and whose resurrection and ascension we celebrate each time we gather will return to his faithful people of every time and every place and remain with us forever.  As promised!

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Don Wink


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