The Pastor's Peace - November, 2010
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"You don't appreciate what you have until it's gone," is a saying we have heard many times, yet we often fail to appreciate what we have. Perhaps it really is true, that being without is required for fully feeling the blessings we have. If we look at the rescue of the miners in Chile, we are reminded yet again of this truth. One of the miners told the world, "If you're married, go home and kiss your spouse now." Upon being released from the hospital, three of the miners almost immediately proposed to their girlfriends. How lucky we must have seemed to them.

Part of me wonders how long they will see the world in a different light. There is a chance, of course, that such a traumatic experience is truly life changing and that they will always have a bit more appreciation for what they have. It would be nice if all of us could have a life-changing experience, not through traumatic events, but through some other means. It would be wonderful if all of us could suddenly see all the blessings around us. I do not write this to make light of the difficulties people experience on a daily basis, but I do feel that all of us take some things for granted.

Perhaps this is what the Advent season is about. As we move into November and Thanksgiving, we will end the liturgical year with Reign of Christ Sunday and start a new one with Advent.

We will start with a season where Christ is not to be found, where we long for the Savior who has not yet come. Is this our opportunity to appreciate Christ through his absence? Can you imagine a world without Christ, without our church, without the idea that God became flesh, lived and died for us out of divine love? Would you feel alone? I know I would. As horrible as this sounds, it is the point of Advent: a time when we wait for Christ, a time for us tor reflect upon what Christ means to us, what God's love means to us, what the love of our congregation means to us.

Let us all be thankful in November, but let us also appreciate even more our faith journey together with Christ and each other. Each Sunday we spend together is a beautiful experience, just like each of those things the miners missed so deeply. My hope is that we all see that this season. My hope is that when Christmas comes, we embrace that babe in the manger like all of the miners embraced their families upon their freedom. My hope is that we all have a life-changing experience; it's out there if you look for it, beyond the darkness, beyond the fear, beyond the loneliness, in the loving arms of God.

Peace,
Pastor Brian