Welcome to our Trinity blog! We’ve launched it today, on this first day of Advent, because Advent marks the beginning of a new church year. We thought, why not start a new year with a new project? Our goal is to share the beautiful work that God is doing in our Trinity community through this blog. Sometimes the blog entries will be about church activities. Sometimes they’ll be about what we’re doing in worship. Sometimes they’ll be about the Bible or music. Sometimes, they’ll be written by the church staff. Sometimes, they’ll be written by church members. We’ve got a parish packed with talented, wonderful people, and we’re excited to give you readers a chance to get to know them through their writing.

We’re starting this blog with some thoughts from members of our congregation on what the season of Advent means to them. What is Advent, you say? Well, Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival.” Originally, Adventus was a festival celebrated — often in Rome — to mark the arrival of an emperor back to the city after a military campaign. In the Christian church, Advent came to mark the season before Christmas. At Christmas, we celebrate the arrival of Jesus Christ on the earth by celebrating his birth. Advent is the time we anticipate and prepare for his arrival. It’s a season of excitement and hope and preparation.

It’s also a season of reflection. Preparing ourselves for the arrival of Jesus isn’t, after all, about gift giving, decorating, and cookie baking. Not one of those activities is bad. They’re all lovely ways to prepare our homes for Christmas. Advent is about preparing much more than our homes for Christmas. Advent is about preparing ourselves, our hearts and minds, for Christmas. So we light candles and pray. We look within ourselves — at our goodness, yes, but also our empty and broken places — and we long for the healing and the hope that God brings us in Christ Jesus. We also look around and, while we see much that is good and joyful, we also see how many people are without hope, and we pray that Christ will come through us that we might bring healing and hope to others.

Tonight at 5, we’ll have a wonderful Service of Advent Lessons and Carols here at Trinity. We’ll light the candles, read scripture, sing hymns, and pray for the coming of the one who brought and continues to bring so much light and love to our world. Join us for that. Join us on this blog over the next four weeks, and we’ll get truly prepared for Christmas together.

Image credit: The Roman Catholic Diocese of Laredo.