Advent: A Hidden Season

by Audrey Riley

calloused handsAdvent is the hidden season, wouldn’t you say? It’s so easy to miss it in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, what with the decorations going up all over town even before we’ve finished our first piece of pumpkin pie.

But Advent is important for our spiritual health. We need this in-between time of waiting in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Yes, he came to our world at a certain time, in a certain place, to a certain mother; and he will come again in glory. But he also comes to each of us every day.

Where do we see you, Lord?

We see you most clearly in the loving hearts of friends and family members, in the skilled hands of healers and caregivers, in the gentle shepherding of our pastors and bishops.

But we also see our Lord Jesus Christ in the hopeful eyes of a hungry child, in the callused hands of a hard-working immigrant, in the tear-stained face of a woman seeking shelter from violence.

Lord, when did we see you hungry or exhausted or afraid? What did we do when we saw you? Did we bring you food, or rest, or safe refuge? Did we petition for justice, for fairness, for attention to your needs? Did we remember your words – “Just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me”?

In this season of Advent, as we ponder what it means to wait for the coming of Christ – in history, in glory, and in the world around us – let us act as he would have us act. Let us give as he would have us give.


Audrey Riley is director for stewardship for Women of the ELCA.


Regular Offerings

Regular offerings are received whenever women gather locally, whether as part of a congregational event, Café group, campus ministry, retirement home or at a friend’s home. Your unit treasurer handles regular offerings, ensuring that your generous gift is shared fairly with all three expressions of Women of the ELCA: congregational, synodical and churchwide. Please give generously to help women throughout our church act boldly on their faith in Jesus Christ – who was, who is and who is to come.

Unit treasurers: When you receive regular offerings, you keep up to 50 percent for your congregational unit’s ministries. Then please fill in Form A as shown in the sample here and mail it to the treasurer of your synodical women’s organization with your check for the remainder of the amount offered. She, in her turn, will share at least 50 percent of that amount with the churchwide expression of our organization.

Other ways to support the churchwide women’s organization:

Give online at Choose “Where needed most.”

Or mail your check, made out to Women of the ELCA, to:

Women of the ELCA
ELCA Gift Processing Center
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield, VA 22116-8009

Thank you!


Past devotions:

November 2016: Giving thanks
October 2016: Look in the mirror
September 2016: Seasons of stewardship

August 2016: No child should go hungry
July 2016: Prepare for the triennial
June 2016: Beginning the journey

May 2016: Holy Stewardship
April 2016: Good for our hearts!
March 2016: Loving Lent
February 2016: Happy birthday Katie!

January 2016 devotion: “I am about to do a new thing!”

December 2015 devotion: GIving thanks for you
November 2015 devotion: Giving thanks to God