The phrase “a Sacred Pause” has resonated with me this fall, particularly as I’ve been enjoying the book by April Yamasaki called “Sacred Pauses”.  A wonderful book, by the way.

And as we enter this busy season with to-do lists, many activities, social obligations, shopping, parties, concerts and much much more, I’m drawn to creating the quiet sacred pauses, to still the heart, to ready myself for Christmas in a thoughtful way.

Advent can be a gift to us in this season – because it helps us to slow down and reflect.

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, the first Sunday of the Church Calendar.  Many churches will draw our attention to these holy rhythms, and today we sat with the word “Hope”, hope for a broken world.

There is so much anticipation in this season.  We long for connection, for joy, for light in the midst of a dark world.  Often, in this advent season, we focus on four words: hope, love, peace and joy.  Over 2000 years ago there was great hope that a Redeemer would come as the Messiah, and his coming as the Christ Child is the reason Christmas is so sacred to Christians today.

And this Christ-child became the Saviour and is the embodiment of Love, of Peace, which brings great Joy. If you listen to the Christmas Carols that we know so well, you will hear this message over and over again.

So we celebrate in many quiet ways.  In churches many light the candle of hope today.  One church I know encourages families to get together to light a candle today, this first Sunday of Advent.

Or it can be in the quiet of my heart.  Perhaps you will doodle as I did, thoughts about the meaning of Advent, or you can list what you hope for, or what the word hope means to you.

There is always an anticipation, a longing, a hope… we hope for a better world, we long for peace and justice.  And in this waiting, it is good to sit, quietly, in reflection and give thanks for hope.

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