This is the third version of this blog that I’ve written. I couldn’t figure out why the first two versions left me feeling uneasy, until I realized that it wasn’t the content, but my underlying fear of publishing something that might come under attack. Social media, and more precisely, how we interact with social media, has trained me to avoid controversy, even if I’m raising legitimate points. The days of social media being a public forum for intelligent conversation are long gone.
The horror of war continues to unfold in the Middle East. The attack on Israel by Hamas was barbaric and shocking. Over 1,200 people were killed, and more than 200 people kidnapped, including toddlers and the elderly. They are a terrorist organization, committed to the eradication of Israel and the Jewish people. They have no interest in peace, nor are they committed to the well-being of the Palestinian people. Most of the world agreed with Israel’s declaration that Hamas must be eliminated.
Here’s a generalization that I’ve observed to be accurate: we are a distracted people, and we don’t know what to do with ourselves if we don’t have a phone in our hands or a laptop on our knees. (In fact, depending on the age group, between 45 percent and 78 percent of us have our mobile phones in hand while watching TV. Yes, the percentage is the inverse of the age.)
To be fair, we do know what to do: we talk. Anything to avoid silence. Anything to avoid reflection. Anything to avoid self-examination. The cost: our minds never fully come to rest.
I remember when we used to enter the church in silence. If people spoke, they did so in hushed tones. Our attention was drawn to the Altar, and the time before the Eucharist began was used to prepare ourselves to meet Jesus in the forms of bread and wine.
As we put away the Thanksgiving tablecloths and start looking for Christmas trees, we invite you to take the time to celebrate Advent. Advent can be a wonderful time to pause and reflect on the miracle that is to come. To help you celebrate this season, we’ve gathered fourteen resources below. From all of us at ECF, we pray that your Advent is filled with peace, health and hopeful anticipation.
1. Find Advent and Christmas resources from The Episcopal Church here, including an updated Journeying the Way of Love Advent calendar and curriculum, weekly collects for Advent and Christmas Day, and Advent and Christmas Digital Invitation Kits. Most of their resources are also available in Spanish and French.