Our church year begins with an emphasis on the theme of hope. Dr. Tracy Hartman, our guest proclaimer, offers a sermon on Adam and Eve. They were people of the earth, called up from the same elements as all other things. They lived in a natural paradise, surrounded by lush greenery. The evergreens we use this season connect us to them and remind us of God’s constant care for all of life. Our first parents were fooled into believing that there was no limit to what they could do in the good creation. They (We) were wrong. We are surrounded by God’s resources, yet we feel poor. In the company of our neighbors, we still feel lonely. With your gifts of life, death still brings us grief. We are empty and need to be filled. We begin advent asking God to bring us into silence so that we may watch and listen and ponder the hope that we have in the promised coming of Jesus, and all that his presence means.