Welcome to Advent. A season to rest and rejoice from your weariness.
This can seem laughable if you are one of those folks who has so much on your calendar, you don't think it's possible.
[Sometimes that might be me. - Pastor Kirsten] So how DOES a weary world rejoice? Well, there are four answers below, and to start with, we rejoice by gathering together with family and friends in worship for the season.
Each week, we are invited into rejoicing and rest with a different answer to the theme question: 1) We acknowledge our weariness 2) We find joy in connection 3) We allow ourselves to be amazed and 4) We sing stories of hope. These weekly reflections expand from Joy, which is traditionally the third Sunday of Advent, which becomes an invitation to Joy throughout the season. We pray that the original artwork, devotional material (found on the Welcome Center in the gathering area) and worship music will work together as guideposts through this 2023 season of Advent, Christmas and Baptism of Our Lord on January 7th.
Here are a few reflections on this theme from its creators as we ponder and wait together this Advent:
"Joy is often a companion to many other emotions. We can feel joy in addition to feeling many other things at once: grief, anticipation, anxiety, excitement, disappointment, exhaustion. Perhaps many of us live with the myth that joy is not something we deserve—or that it is wholly out of reach. But our joy is rooted in the truth that we belong to God. Can you tether yourself to that deep truth? You deserve to feel joy—fully. The world needs your joy, even if you are weary.
Our joy is better when it is shared.
This theme of course alludes to a line in the familiar Christmas hymn, “O Holy Night,” which has an interesting history. The song was originally written by a French poet who was atheist, and the music was supplied by a Jewish composer. The hymn was later translated into English by an American Unitarian minister. In the 1800s, it became a popular hymn for Christian abolitionists
due to its justice-focused language in verse 3.4 Like Mary’s song, the hymn reminds us that justice and joy belong together. Sometimes our joy is an act of resistance. And so, this Advent, we will hold space for our weariness and our joy. We will seek a “thrill of hope” in our hurting world. We will welcome joy—even and especially if, like the prophet Isaiah, we cry out for comfort (Isaiah 40:1). In this weary world, may we find many ways to rejoice."
Quote from A Sanctified Art. Written by Rev. Ceceila Armstrong & Rev. Lisle Gwynn Garrity.