It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
This is a small gathering of some of the things that give me life right now, centered on the themes of advent.
If you’re familiar with A New Liturgy (I love their Examen), these reflections will feel familiar. Spoken word, original music and scripture are woven together in lovely ways. There are four reflections to guide you through the end of the year: Gratitude, Lament, Imagination and Hope.
I’ve learned so much about food and people from this radio show over the years and this episode was especially beautiful. Invitations have been on my mind a lot as we near the end of construction on the new house and get ready to welcome our people to the new space. I’m always nudged toward generous hospitality by my friend Sher, and I want our house to be built on community like the JUSTembrace house. Our expression of community will probably look different as God uses our strengths and unique situations. Whatever form that takes, I want this house to Nurture + Nourish our family and others. I listened to this episode of Splendid Table while I was filling nail holes at the new house and it was like a meditation.
Y’all know Sarah Bessey has become my favorite writer of the last few years. I loved hearing the background story of how the last two years of loss and failure unfolded for her and how she’s learning about resurrection in new ways. I named my daughter “resurrection,” so you might say I’m pretty into that theme.
Advent is such a brilliant, complex picture of resurrection. The darkening days, the long nights, the small candle lights lit one by one each week, the waiting and longing for the promise of Messiah. The faint echo of “Hosanna… save us” as the now-grown baby rides in to celebrate Passover, the celebration of God’s mercy and liberation. The violence of death being conquered once and for all to show us a better way. I love all of it.
During advent we celebrate communion every week at church. This year the advent messages are centered on rest. Sabbath. I think about Jesus’ last Passover when he invited us to the table to feast on his generosity, his complete oneness with God and the Spirit – community – and his perfection.
Then a terrible dark season of waiting while it looked like death had won.
Until. Until! Resurrection.
“Then Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied,
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he came and set his people free.
He set the power of salvation in the center of our lives, and in the very house of David his servant,
Just as he promised long ago through the preaching of his holy prophets:
Deliverance from our enemies and every hateful hand;
Mercy to our fathers, as he remembers to do what he said he’d do,
What he swore to our father Abraham— a clean rescue from the enemy camp,
So we can worship him without a care in the world, made holy before him as long as we live.
And you, my child, “Prophet of the Highest,” will go ahead of the Master to prepare his ways,
Present the offer of salvation to his people, the forgiveness of their sins.
Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us,
Shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death,
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.”
Luke 1:67-79 MSG