December 23, 2020
As we journey through Advent we are in the season of expectation, particularly the coming of new life in the birth of Jesus. The themes of love, peace, joy, and hope easily surround the image of the infant savior lying in a bed of hay smiling and cooing as he sleeps. This year it is so hard to focus on a new life when our daily news is filled with tallies around the world from a pandemic that continues to cover people near and far. Death is no respecter of class, of status, race, or other ways we segregate and divide ourselves. It lays us equally at its door. In Charles Dicken’s classic, “A Christmas Carol”, Mr. Scrooge finally relents and changes when he finds himself standing at that very door. In my own family, we have walked through that door in 2020 along with many more around the world. In these moments of loss, we as Christians find ourselves most ready and equipped to be the hands of God to one another. When my older sister died in 1987, even as a 4-year-old I remember the people of the church coming to our home and being present in our families’ time of deep grief and loss. At another time a family in our church experienced the death of a child and the women of the church showed up to clean their home, to prepare meals, and to be the presence of Christ. This was the church being the hand of God that the early church modeled for us. In this time of being apart physically, we continually ask how we can be connected and one body to serve and support one another when we cannot be together. This brings to mind another act of the people of God that I have experienced in difficult times, cards, and notes. Even though it has been over 30 years since the passing of my sister, I still have cards that so many people sent to her and our family both during her illness and following her death. Many friends and family who sent those words of comfort, care, and support have since gone to join the Church Triumphant, but yet, their words they penned so long ago still ring true and bring comfort today. In this 2020 advent season, perhaps we can use the power of the pen to show the attributes of love, joy, and peace in ways we’ve forgotten in our digital age. And in this small action, we can give hope; hope that is to come is worth waiting for; and that our beloved community will be there to celebrate with us. O Come, Emmanuel, come and teach us the way in which to be your presence to each other and to our world.