New liturgical season, new worship aids (“Celebrating the Eucharist”), new pastor! This is just some of the newness we might see this weekend of December here at Transfiguration parish. The Advent season has arrived, the beginning of the new Church year. With something new, with a new beginning there is always some change involved. Changes are not always welcomed by us, and not always appreciated. Paula and John have accepted the burden of collecting the outdated worship aids and replacing them with the current issues that will last for the next three months. Quite a chore, but change is often a chore for all of us because we feel comfortable with what is habitual and what is familiar. Change sweeps us away from our comfort zones. There will be changes in our sanctuary and gathering space as they are adapted to this new season of anticipation and preparation for the celebration of Jesus’ birth. The various commissions of the parish will be gearing their discussions and activities to this new season and beyond as they deal with a new calendar year also. Families are always facing changes in their daily routines depending on the demands of their workplaces and on the needs of the children. The formalities and festivities of the Christmas holidays add even more anxiety and tension as parents and children seek to cope with the additional commitments and activities.
Change is obviously the order of our lives, if for no other reason than growth is the order of our lives. To live is to grow, and to grow entails changes. Growth is multi-faceted and therefore so is change. We grow with change and we change with growth. Both change and growth bring to us loss and gain. We grieve loss, and once we see that growth begets gain, we come to rejoice in the gain. We find ourselves at times not seeing or not rejoicing in the gain because we find it so difficult to grieve the loss. We miss and grieve over the loss of summer when autumn sets in; we see some gain when springtime offsets the cold, dark, and somber days of winter. Change sometimes enthralls us and sometimes annoys, frustrates, and destabilizes us. But that is life!
It seems that in order to be at peace in our everyday life we need to accept and embrace the surprises and ritual patterns that are part of our nature and the reality of the changing world in which we live. Grieve, as we must; diminishes and even dispels grief. Listen to St. Paul: “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1Thessalonians 5:16-19)
Together we welcome the change to a new season, Advent 2017. Together we welcome Fr. Jeff Scheeler as our permanent pastor. And together we look forward with rejoicing to the celebration of Jesus’ birthday at Christmas.