I begin the Sunday Word and Communion service with, "Happy New Year!" Some of the guys look startled. Those who have been around a few years already know the joke. It's one of those "teaching moments" that work well.
I get to talk about Advent, the start of the new church year. I say a bit about the gospel of Mark that we'll be listening to this year, with good chunks of John thrown in because Mark is so darn short. Someone notices that last week we had the sparkly red spandex table cloth and this week we have the shiny purple, to say nothing of my matching blouses...
We all gather around the Advent candles, four dark purplish fist-sized things that I found at the Dollar Store (no pink...I'll keep on looking). We bless the candles and ask God to bless the time.
For the homily, Mark's "Be alert!" draws me back to a neighbor's bumper sticker, "Jesus is coming. Look busy!" and because we had the reading from Matthew recently, I ask what kind of busy work Jesus might be looking for. The guys are great. They remember: Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Visit the prisoners.
Today I did a good bit of spiritual accompaniment (can't call it direction--I never know where God is going!) and found myself saying again and again, "Do what is right in front of you." And so I am.
It's Advent. I get it. Really. I do.
and PS: you really should go back and read the post from December 9, 2007 for the fun that happens during Advent. (One of these days, I'll learn how to make a link!)