Notes from the Pastor – December 2023

When I was growing up, my mom’s favorite response to me or my brothers whenever we would say the words “I’m tired” was “there’s a lot of that going around.”

As the days get shorter and the nights colder, as our world reels in response to shocking violence, hatred, and oppression, I’ve found myself on many occasions wanting to just bundle myself up in all my blankets with my cat and sleep through the winter.

I get the feeling there’s a lot of that going around.

Our very world is weary. And yet, in this sacred time of year, beneath all the hustle and bustle, the ever-louder litany of buy! buy! buy!, the tensions of family dynamics, and the residual layers of exhaustion and—let’s call it what it is—trauma from the pandemic and all the deep wounds it exposed in our culture, we sing that our weary world rejoices in the Advent of the Christ-child.

It’s hard to believe at the best of times. But it was hard to believe in the days of the first Christmas as well. After all what joy was there to be found in the lives of everyday people living in the shadow of an occupying empire proclaiming a peace that comes through war, people displaced from their homes and pitted against each other in a struggle to survive, people exploited by systems designed to benefit only the powerful few?

This Advent and Christmas, we will ask that nagging question: how does a weary world rejoice?

Using liturgy and art from A Sanctified Art, we will journey through Advent to discover the ways that God is with us in our weariness, and discover that joy can and does shine even in the deepest, weary gloom.

Yours in weariness and in joy this season,
Pastor Stephen.