This morning we are once again attempting to process the news of brutal violence and the loss of innocent life. While many of us are gearing up for a celebration of Christmas with friends and loved ones, others of us are hurting. For any number of reasons, the season does not always wrap itself in joy.
Our brothers and sisters in liturgical churches have a response: Advent. Advent isn't about starting the celebration of Christmas early. Advent is about our need for Christmas. Advent is about being honest about the world, and about ourselves. Advent is about hope for something yet to come.
One of the most challenging aspects of any faith is the reality of suffering, even in a world created by God. One of the most powerful promises of the Christian Faith is that God has visited our broken world in Jesus Christ. The season of Advent invites us to put Christmas in perspective, so that our joy is even greater at the recognition of so amazing a gift. But Advent also invites us to humility, and to ongoing compassion for those who suffer. Once again we are invited to live out the Gospel in the words, "rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep."