Presiding Bishop Advent Message, 2017
Presiding Bishop Advent Message, 2016
Presiding Bishop Advent Message, 2015
Presiding Bishop Advent Message, 2014
Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, in her Christmas Message 2014 prays: “May Christ be born anew in you this Christmastide. May his light burn in you, and may you labor to spread it in the darkness.”
" The altar hanging at an English Advent service was made of midnight blue, with these words across its top: “We thank you that darkness reminds us of light.” Facing all who gathered there to give thanks were images of night creatures – a large moth, an owl, a badger, and a bat – cryptic and somewhat mysterious creatures that can only be encountered in the darkness.
" As light ebbs from the days and the skies of fall, many in the Northern Hemisphere associate dark with the spooks and skeletons of secular Hallowe’en celebrations. That English church has reclaimed the connection between creator, creation, and the potential holiness of all that is. It is a fitting reorientation toward the coming of One who has altered those relationships toward new possibilities for healing and redemption.
" Advent leads us into darkness and decreasing light. Our bodies slow imperceptibly with shorter days and longer nights, and the merriness and frantic activity around us are often merely signs of eager hunger for light and healing and wholeness.
" The Incarnation, the coming of God among us in human flesh, happened in such a quiet and out of the way place that few noticed at first. Yet the impact on human existence has been like a bolt of lightning that continues to grow and generate new life and fire in all who share that hunger.
" Jesus is among us like a flitting moth – will we notice his presence in the street-sleeper? He pierces the dark like a silent, streaking owl seeking food for hungry and defenseless nestlings. He will overturn this world’s unjust foundations like badgers undermining a crooked wall. Like the bat’s sonar, his call comes to each one uniquely – have we heard his urgent “come and follow”?
" God is among us, and within us, and around us, encountering, nudging, loving, transforming the world and its creatures toward the glorious dream the shepherds announced so many years ago, toward the beloved community of prophetic dreams, and the nightwatch that proclaims “all is well, fear not, the Lord is here.”
" May Christ be born anew in you this Christmastide. May his light burn in you, and may you labor to spread it in the darkness. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light, and it is the harbinger of peace for all creation.
Presiding Bishop Advent Message, 2013
"Advent is a time of waiting and for many people it’s a time to reflect on what Mary must have experienced as she waited for the birth of this unusual child.
" You may never have been pregnant or lived with someone who was, but put yourself in her place for a while. Consider what it would have been like to have a new life growing within you. And reflect on what new is growing within you this season of Advent.
" What new concern is growing for the people around you? What new burden is on your heart for the woes of the world? What new possibility do you see emerging in the world around you, and how might you be part of that?
" Advent is a quieter time of the year in the Church’s understanding. It’s a time to be still and listen, listen deep within to what is growing, ready to emerge into new life.
" And as the season for the birth of the Christ Child arrives, I would encourage you to consider how you yourself will be present in the world in a new way this year. How will you give evidence of love incarnate to the world around you?
" I pray that you have a blessed and joyful and peace-filled Advent. God be with you.
Presiding Bishop Advent Message, 2012
The presiding bishop offered in 2012 a video Advent message for the Episcopal Church, asking the question, "What is it that you are most waiting for?
"As you prepare for the season of Advent, I would commend two questions to your musings and your prayer and your meditation: What is it that you are most waiting for? And, how are you going to wait this year?
"I’m struck this particular season by the waiting of several women in Christian history. Mary obviously, waiting for the birth of the Promised One in her part of the world, a child born for the whole world.
"Also Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptizer, who comes before Jesus. Elizabeth has been promised a child in her old age, these are both very unexpected births, they are waiting.
"And I’m struck particularly this year by Elizabeth of Hungary, a saint of the Church who lived in the thirteenth century, who was betrothed as a child herself, married at 14, a mother of three by the time her husband died when she was 20. She spent her life giving it away, giving it away both physically through her means and through her presence and her healing. She was an icon of generosity.
"What is it you wait for this year? Is it an opportunity to meet the surprising around you? Is it an opportunity to reflect on what is most needed in your heart and in the world around you? How are you going to wait for that gift? Are you going to wait actively? Engaged? Honing your desire? Stoking the passion within you for that dream? Are you going to wait for a dream that will bless the whole world?
"That’s what Christians wait for in the season of Advent – of the coming of the Prince of Peace, the one who will reign with justice over this world. I believe that’s what the world most needs, this year and every year.
"May your season of waiting be fruitful and blessed. May it be filled with surprise and a willingness to engage that surprise.
"A blessed Advent.