Kairos-Milwaukie United Church of Christ

Photo: (c) iStock.com / Eskemar (image #853788426)As the lights go up around the neighborhood, and my calendar fills up with concerts and plays, parties and service project and worship services, as my house is filled with the scent of nutmeg from my handed-down-the-generations Christmas cookie recipe, my heart is filled with the old familiar combination of excitement, anxiety, joy and dread.

Excitement because I love the lights and the concerts, the work and the play of the season and the chance to spend extra time with my family and friends. I love hearing about other people’s family traditions. I even love an occasional cheesy Christmas movie.

Anxiety because although my children are both adults now, I still hear the anxious voice in my head reminding me of every detail that seems NECESSARY to making Christmas merry.

Dread because the world is full of dreadful news and like most people I sometimes wonder if I have enough trust in the good news of God’s presence with us to keep me rooted and grounded in love in the face of the world’s onslaught.

Joy because I am not alone. Joy because I am reminded that faith is not something I need to produce through sheer will power. Faith is a gift that time and time again is returned to me – welling up within as we work and sing and pray together. It is a gift that falls down upon my shoulders like a gentle rain, making everything fresh and new, when I sit in stillness, close to the “deep but dazzling darkness” and wait.

I wish you a holy advent, full of quietness and peace, in the Presence.
I wish you a joyous Christmas full of the traditions that enliven you most.
I wish you a hope filled season, with joy in your heart and just the right amount of work for your hands to do.