Here we are in Advent already, can you believe it? It’s a short season that leads up to Christmas, but it wasn’t always that way. It used to be a little longer, and it looked toward Epiphany—and baptism.
For hundreds of years, our ancestors in faith celebrated the birth of Christ, the visit of the Magi, the baptism of the Lord (and even the miracle at the wedding at Cana!) all on the same day. And because of the link to Jesus’ baptism, that winter day became a popular time to baptize new Christians. Back then, it was mostly adults seeking baptism, so they usually took time to learn about the faith and start living into it beforehand.
How we got Advent
Over the centuries, Christmas and Epiphany found their own spots on the calendar, and so did the observance of the baptism of the Lord. And as more and more people were baptized soon after their birth, that special season of preparing for the sacrament at Epiphany faded away. But the memory remained—and that became Advent.
So let’s put ourselves in the sandals of our foremothers in faith this Advent. If we were getting ready to be baptized in a few weeks, how would we get ready? What would we learn, and how would we live into our faith? Would we pray in a more focused, intentional way? Would we read our Bible with more purpose? Would we act on our faith by giving and serving with even more generosity and dedication than before? I think we would.
So let’s put aside those sandals and step back into our own shoes. We’re not getting ready for baptism—we’re already baptized. We’re getting ready for the coming of Christ, both as the baby in Bethlehem and as the Redeemer who makes all things new. How should we prepare?
Let us pray.
Creating, redeeming, renewing God, always with us and also yet to come, help us open our eyes and our hearts to see the signs of your presence in every time and place and person. Open our minds and our hands to serve and to give, that we may help bring your beloved creation ever closer to what you intended from the beginning. This we ask through your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
(Photo by Elizabeth McBride)
How to make your Thankoffering
Individuals may give online at welca.org/donate, or mail their checks, made out to Women of the ELCA with “Thankoffering” written on the memo line, to:
Women of the ELCA
ELCA Gift Processing Center
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield VA 22116-8009
Units may mail their checks with Form B to the address shown above and on the form.