Oh hi there. Last time I wrote here was in May... 8 months ago in which we were in the season of Easter of the church calendar. Here we are now, right after another season of Advent. There is a lot of themes in Advent that are very relatable to me, after all it’s a season of waiting. I remember welcoming Advent the first year with such open arms and feeling like I really understood it more than ever. Second Advent in our waiting, I felt the comfort of a collective waiting. Here we are, third season of Advent waiting for the call and I feel a little over it.
The idea of darkness is one that sits really easily with me. It’s become comfortable almost. During this Advent, I found myself desperately wanting to shift to the light. Grasping to the idea that there is light in these dark days of waiting but to be honest, over 3 years of waiting, it’s hard to believe that. It’s been a heavy season lately in the wait, tears on the surface of most days and I really do dislike that part of the darkness. There isn’t anything wrong with crying and being sad of course, but I am so worn from it. We sang an old song set to new music at church one Sunday in Advent with the lyrics “silent as light”. I’ve always thought light as something big and bright, so this concept of light being quite changed that a little.
I have never done a “word for the year” before but I was finding myself more and more drawn to the word “light” to focus on in 2019. Then at the church I work at, for Epiphany Sunday our pastor of Spiritual Formation was teaching and she was passing out star words in the bulletins. From her Epiphany Sunday sermon:
"It doesn’t take much light to brighten our paths. It can be a small gesture or word or prayer that can lighten the darkest of times. And so, it is that we invite the light of the Christmas star into our own lives. Just as one very special star led the wise men to the revelation of Jesus as Messiah, we can invite God to lead our hearts closer to Christ in the year to come. We don’t celebrate the New Year as a holy holiday, but perhaps the story of the wise men allows us to do just that. The New Year is a fresh start- the opportunity to see clearly the path you are on, and to move forward toward Christ, with God’s guidance...Let your star be a word of encouragement or prayer or intention for the year to come. Keep this star with you. Place it somewhere that it can serve as a reminder or inspiration of Christ’s guiding light.”
I asked Courtney, who gave the sermon, for a word. I was secretly thinking, “If my star word is the word ‘light’ then I should do this whole ‘word for the year’ thing”. My star word was not in fact the word “light”, but the word “promise”. Upon reading that word, I teared up at my desk. Apparently just as powerful even though it wasn’t the word I was expecting. Then the next day, Courtney was on the schedule to lead our Staff devotion which she asked us to pick a piece of art from a collection she laid out for us. “Choose the one that speaks truth to you today.”
This art now lives in my office right above my computer, along with my star word. The title of this art is “Festival of Lights”. I have said this in many ways before, but we have such amazing community of people with us in this waiting. When don’t believe the light will come or is near, this image speaks volumes. The days that feel terribly alone, it is a lie because this is an image of a sea of people who hold the light for us on days we just can’t. This has always been true in the wait.
I have gone from never doing a “word for the year” to having 2 words to focus on for 2019. For those of you who pray for us, maybe use these words as you do. I don't believe there is a greater power in these words of course. Having them though to help refocus my heart to things that are hard to believe a lot of days is a gift as the waiting continues.