Here we go, another opportunity to read about, write about, think about how will we celebrate this year’s Advent journey with the path clouded by a pandemic. How can we make this year of 2020 as celebratory in anticipation of the arrival of Christ as any other season of Advent? How do we do that?
I am writing this as my daughter practices “Silent Night” with her school choir, over Zoom. It is my favorite time of day, and my least favorite. The dichotomy of this moment every Thursday & Friday (and every other Wednesday) is not lost on me. I look forward to and dread 11:30-12:20. I hear her beautiful soprano wafting through the floor and lament in the fact that this is the last year I will hear that sound on a regular basis. But I celebrate that I get to hear it at least twice a week. But it makes me sad that her only interaction 50% of the week with the choir she loves so much is just through a computer screen.
Isn’t that how we might view this year of Advent? The Family Advent event is a drive-thru affair this weekend. Rather than gathering with our church family in various rooms of the church or around a large table enjoying chili and cinnamon rolls, we are picking them up from the curb and enjoying them at home around a much smaller table with just immediate family. Its the comparisons to past and future seasons that are so difficult. But how can we get in the celebratory mood for Christ’s birth. That silent night will still be coming. That moment when we feel the story of the birth wash over us. The love that can be shared around the world.
I offer that more than any other year, I am feeling the weight of the hope and peace and love that God heaped upon us more fully. Its just coincidence, I know, that news of vaccines came the first week of Advent, but doesn’t it feel like we were granted this news on purpose? During the time we are preparing ourselves for new life, for new hope in the church calendar, we are literally preparing for a renewed life in our world?
We might be more open to rejoice and revel in the specter of Jesus’s birth or the hope for new life and joy. Downstairs the sounds have moved on to the Hallelujah Chorus. Might we all rejoice just as loudly, even if we have to make it one more holiday with the same small bubble of people we have celebrated the last 9 months with. There is a hope for new life and rejoicing soon. Be safe, be brave, be joyous.
This month’s devotion is written by Melissa Abele. Melissa has been a member of the Women’s Ministry Team since it began. She and Jeff have been married for 21 years and have 2 daughters: Madalynn (18) and Lily (12). Jeff & Melissa own their own business, Grandstand Apps, a mobile app development company. In her free time, Melissa loves to read, travel, and spend time with family. The Sheridan community has been a true blessing and second home to the family since they joined more than 16 years ago.