Dear One's of St. C's,
The other day I was driving home from picking up my kids from daycare at 4:15pm. Cascade said, “It is getting dark. The Christmas lights shine brighter in the dark.” I got goosebumps. Isn’t this the lesson of Advent? It may be dark, but look how bright that light shines? Look in the distance, we are getting closer and closer to the light.
I always say to be human, it is not that we have trouble finding hope, it is more likely that we dread its arrival. Sometimes it is just easier to live in despair and hopelessness. And this time of year, makes that desire come out strong. Hope can be a heavy load to bear. That is part of why I love Advent. In Advent our hope is coming. It is not here now. It is like a reprieve for me from carrying all this hope. I just let the darkness be. I let the joy and the love come and go. I let the rain lull me onto the couch and excuse myself from going on a walk. I work on making space in my home for something new to arrive. I anticipate something that is coming in the future that is going to heal every heartache, that is going to cause every oppressive empire to fall, and all the injustices in the world will be made right. There is nothing to fear in the end.
And, how can I have this Advent hope, year after year? Because God came to the world as a baby. I cannot get over it. And God chose a poor, oppressed, young woman to bring this baby into the world. We understand the world differently because God did this. I understand power differently because God did this. And every year I await this baby’s arrival with anticipation, joy, and excitement because all year long the world sends me a very different message. And every year my body and my brain learn it anew, gets excited anew, and is filled with joy once again at the thought of it. God comes to the world as a baby to teach us the truth about power and love.
And on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day I just let it all be real. I don’t think about the dread and heaviness of hope. I take this Feast Day and I live into the reality of the kingdom that I desire to bring forth with God each day. These are the images and dreams we get to carry with us throughout the year. On Feast Days we feast. And I know this year will be different. It may be lonelier, harder, and sadder for many of you. Maybe it will not be possible to feast and celebrate all day with the present reality of our hardship. But I do hope you will set aside some time to bask in this baby who has come to be with us.
I hope you will finish out Advent strong as we wait for our hope to come. And then I hope you will join us on Christmas Eve in whatever way you feel comfortable. And I hope you will be present with me to this baby who has come to save us from ourselves and from the evil in the world. This baby who has come to show us a different way to live, love and be in this world.
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.