Two candles shone brightly on the Advent wreath at Saint Peter’s Lutheran Church - Belvidere, located between Goodhue and Lake City for Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020. The Nativity scene was nestled among red and white poinsettias displayed in full splendor.

Imagining Pastor Steve looking down the aisle toward the lovely cemetery on the hillside across the street, I enjoyed scenes from my favorite view at home: shadows moving across a frosty roof, chimney smoke twining into dark tree branches and walkers in brightly colored jackets swinging their arms with rhythmic vigor.

We learned that the Latin phrase “in medias res” means “into the middle of things,” like how the Book of Mark begins with a sentence fragment then starts talking about getting ready. Pastor Steve references a couple Christmas movies including the one opening with George standing in the middle of a bridge. We often find ourselves in the middle of things. There’ll be flashbacks and fade-ins and stuff that you can’t “gloss over with a red and green sweater.” But there can be the eager building of anticipation for what’s to come next.

Sometimes there are interruptions. I’m not too fond of potential shaming with use of the word “sin.” However, the words I muttered under my breath when I accidentally stopped the video partway through had me thinking I might need to go back to that part about confession and forgiveness.

There were no hymn numbers on the song board by the wreath, but music was played on the organ with all the skillful footwork and artistic flicking of control keys I could imagine. And now I have the tune to “pre-e-e-pare thee the way of the Lord” stuck in my head, which lends itself nicely to other words like, ‘I will sing loud(ly) from this stool if I want.’

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Prayers included for family affection, order of days, a “common endeavor” and integrity. Further prayerful petitions were made for the “knowledge of blessings“ and for “whatever else you know that we need.”

After an announcement about the mid-week advent services, the friendly and appropriate final words of the benediction were, “We’ll see ya later.”