Worship at Old Stone Well Farm

First Week of Advent: Stick Season

These past two weeks we have been observing the Celtic Advent, but today we transition into the traditional, four-week season of Advent. Here in Vermont, it is also a season fondly (and not so fondly) referred to as “stick” season. It’s the time of year when the leaf peepers have all gone home. The leaves are on the ground and the bare limbs have not yet been covered with a warm blanket of snow.

The barren trees paint a melancholy canvas and some see drabness. I see beauty. For the barrenness opens my eyes to new things, a new perspective. And perhaps that is the opportunity the start of Advent presents us with — a chance to gain a new perspective, to finally see the beauty of God when all seems hopeless.

And so, let us begin our time of worship here at the farm. Our reading for today is:

Isaiah 64:1-7

O that you would tear open the heavens and come down,
so that the mountains would quake at your presence—as when fire kindles brushwood and the fire causes water to boil—to make your name known to your adversaries, so that the nations might tremble at your presence!
When you did awesome deeds that we did not expect, you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From ages past no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.
You meet those who gladly do right, those who remember you in your ways. But you were angry, and we sinned; because you hid yourself we transgressed.
We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy cloth. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away.
There is no one who calls on your name, or attempts to take hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us, and have delivered us into the hand of our iniquity.

Time to Reflect: As the season of Advent begins, it is easy to get caught up in the mad dash to Christmas, to rush to the good news of a Savior born for all. How easy it is to lose sight of the meaning of the season, to not call upon God or reach out our hands to heaven. Spend time today calling upon God, even simply whispering God’s name. Quietly sit in the presence of God, with your hands opened as if to receive something. Meditate on God’s goodness and hope in your life as the first candle of Advent burns.

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