Adult Study: Advent Songs of Waiting

The word “Advent” comes from a Latin term for “coming” or “arrival.” Traditionally Christians have observed the season of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas) as a time of waiting for the coming of Christ. This season of waiting recreates the anticipation of Christ’s first coming, it prepares us for an experience of renewal in Christ in our moment, and it looks expectantly toward a world that one day conforms to Christ’s ethic of love and peace, what Christians traditionally called the coming “Kingdom of God.” With attention to the past, present, and future, Advent is a time for waiting.

These days many of us find ourselves waiting desperately for the arrival of something different: the return to normality. We long for the days when we could live—and live together as church—free of the anxieties and restrictions brought on by the pandemic. Normally our Advent waiting is hopeful and joyous, as we count down the days until Christmas. These days many of us struggle to maintain hope and joy in a period of waiting that feels like it will never end.

What can Advent waiting teach us about pandemic waiting? Are there ways that “doubling down” on Advent might actually help us endure the other stuff? On two successive Mondays, December 6 and 13 (7pm on Zoom), I invite you to a conversation about how these two experiences, Advent waiting for Christ and pandemic waiting, might be related.

To stimulate our thinking, we will focus on the words to some cherished Advent hymns. The beautiful lyrics of these songs may capture what we’ve been through and what many of us are feeling these days. Perhaps these same lyrics, that we often sing without much reflection, may also bring us new strength and hope this Advent, as we wait for the end to the pandemic. Mark your calendars; I hope to have you with us for this conversation.

James Davis


Zoom Link