It's the first Sunday of Advent - do you know where your pastor is?
I am in the gospel of Mark.. not Chapter 1 which is our scripture for this Sunday:"The beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ." Nope, I'm in Chapter 8, reading, praying and dreaming about the season of Lent. Yes, you read that right. My head is in Lent. Which may seem, to some, as difficult as whistling jingle bells while decorating Easter Eggs.
During the cheery holiday season of bright red sales catalogs and Christmas lights, it is somewhat of a stretch to turn my eyes toward Lent. In Mark 8:31-38, Jesus tells the disciples that he must undergo great suffering, he must be rejected, and he will be killed.
However, I see that the Advent season carries the reality of death even as we await new birth, new life.
I am reminded of when my cousin held her newborn baby boy in her arms and cried, and cried, and cried. Perplexed, someon asked "Why are you crying?"
"Because" she said, "Someday, someone is gonna break his heart." As a parent, we hold this new life in our arms and don't want to see it get hurt. Yet, babies to grow up to be teenager who have their hearts broken at a highschool dance (true event)... or undergo embaressing moments of throwing up on athird grade teacher. (true event).
To hold a newborn and imagine the humliation and suffering of the cross is too much. Yet, this is the depth of grief that Mary might of pondered in her heart (Luke 2:19).
Today, I pray for all of those who are grieving the loss of precious loved ones and those who are facing death. This season may not (commercially) have room for the full depth of our human experience, the Gospel does.