November 25th, 2014

Stay awake! That’s the message we hear from our Gospel at the beginning of Advent (Mark 13:24-37). Stay awake! It’s a familiar message - from staying awake at school to staying awake at church - but it can have very differing meanings. This time of year we’re probably staying awake for shopping lines, holiday visitors, or late night travels. It’s the kind of staying awake that can be enjoyable and festive, but it can also lead to anxiety, fatigue, frustration and worry.

Advent is a different kind of staying awake. Advent is more like the staying awake of children who don’t want to go to bed early - in case they miss something. It’s the kind of staying awake that’s fueled by wonder, anticipation, assurance and joy. Our Christmas tradition of gift-giving catches some of this flavor, but if we ever find ourselves approaching Advent and Christmas with more anxiety than joy, it may be time to rebalance the holiday scales. 

Staying awake is a great framework for Christian life and it’s also a meaningful reminder for this year’s Financial Stewardship conversation. Earlier this month St. C Warden Eleanor Fox kicked off our Stewardship season with an important presentation about “always getting ready.” From our budgets to our lectionary, we're always getting ready for God’s presence and practice in our midst. Marguerite Springer-McIntosh continued the conversation by framing Stewardship in the context of our spiritual family, taking care of one another and offering our very best to God.

These are exactly the kinds of messages that keep us awake to the wonder, anticipation, assurance and joy of Christian life. I invite you to prayerfully use the enclosed Pledge Card to help us continue building a community that’s always awake to the voice and the vision of God in our midst. Whether you’re able to give much or little, please join us in pledging. More than 70% of our income is funded by annual pledging and these cards represent a primary tool for planning our shared life of worship, education, fellowship, and service in the coming year. 

Financial Stewardship is not about franticly scrambling to pay the bills, repair the roof, or keep the lights on. It has nothing to do with anxiety, fatigue, frustration and worry. It’s about building a solid foundation and always staying awake to God’s invitation for mission in the world. Because when it comes to the God we find in Jesus - we don’t want to miss anything. 

The Rev’d. Eric M. Hillegas

AuthorEric Hillegas