I started to write this post a few days ago but got sidetracked with other things that needed to get done. Since then there have been a number of situations that have changed what I was thinking…
So here are some Advent musings–not in any particular order.
At this time when we are looking back in time to the birth of a baby in a stable in Bethlehem…and forward to a time when we will have learned how to accept each other and to live in a way that honors the birth of that child…I am grateful. Grateful for a safe place…for shelter and food…for family and friends. But along with that gratefulness, I find myself being challenged–challenged to live in a way that provides those same opportunities for others. It’s easy for me to “cocoon” myself–to not look too far outside my own connections…and to not see the great need.
I am grateful for the continuing survival of a young loved one who has had many issues to deal with in a short life. Some of those issues are not because of anything that child has done–but because of decisions others have made. Some of them are because of that one’s own unwise decisions…and have impacted future choices the child has. There have been times when I have wondered if that young person is going to make it to adulthood without landing in jail–or dying…and I have agonized over what the future holds. And yet I am aware that this young one–and others in my family–are supported not only by family of birth but also by a church family who cares deeply for many young people who are struggling with so many difficult decisions. In this time of Advent, I am reminded of the importance of community in helping all children become who they can be.
I’ve been enjoying watching an active 2-year-old play with her nativity creche. Her favorite figures have been the shepherd who is holding what she calls “momma sheep”…and the single “baby sheep.” They have wandered all over the house, and I am never sure where I am going to find them! The three kings have also traveled…and the angel has sometimes been with them, sometimes with the shepherd, and sometimes with the family. It’s been important to her that Mommy and Daddy and the baby are together–and that there are hugs and kisses between them. At times they have been scattered–and yet somehow they all find a way to get back together.
I have watched healing occur in part of my family that was deeply wounded by an unexpected death 11 years ago…a death that has, in many ways, made it difficult to rejoice in the Advent and Christmas seasons. While we lost one grandchild far too early then, we have been able to rejoice in the birth of a new little one on that same birthday…new life rising out of the ashes of sorrow and regret.
I went to an Advent concert the other night. It was a quiet and reflective concert–different from much of the music we hear this time of year, and yet such a beautiful reflection on all the aspects of this season. The words at first blush don’t seem to fit this season of Advent…and yet they are so appropriate during this time of waiting–waiting for healing…for wholeness…for getting together…
The words were found written on the wall of a concentration camp…a place where hope may have seemed useless. And yet…someone had hope for a better world–just as we are called to…and to work toward.
I believe in the sun, even when it is not shining.
I believe in love, even though I don’t feel it.
I believe in God, even when he is silent.