Preparing For Worship – Leanna Coyle-Carr, pastoral resident.
Everything is difficult this Advent.
For example: The Coyle-Carr Calama-tree.
We went to pick out our tree at the Whole Foods parking lot, found the perfect fir, snapped a selfie for the book, and then … ended up waiting 45 minutes because the netting machine ran out and no one knew how to reload it. Meanwhile, our toddler is seriously cranky because it’s suppertime, and I have to admit that I was getting pretty testy myself. When it was all said and done, we ended up letting the tree sleep in the side yard for a few days (takeout is only good hot, don’tcha know?).
When Aaron did get the tree set up, I strung it with lights while he ran out to pick up fast food yet again. We have exactly one ornament on that tree today because it came in the mail and the path of least resistance was just obvious.
Now, what in the world does this have to do with worship? Honesty, maybe? I am tired. Are you? Are you weary in your bones, your body weighed down with 2020? With the masking? The lack of touch, the too much Zoom? The constant nag of pandemic stress, of very real anxiety for the hospitalized facing COVID alone?
Maybe I am talking about Whole Foods, ornaments and Christmas tree drama as we prepare for worship because if I go any deeper, I may not be able to climb out again.
This is the Sunday of Joy — the day we light that pink candle. Our ancestors set this day aside in the penitential season of Advent and marked it with the color of a light pink rose or a warm sunrise as a celebration of being over halfway there. We are now just over halfway through our great waiting for Christmas. We are closer to Christ’s appearing than we are to the beginning.
Great joy!, our kin whisper through time. Take heart! You are almost there.
What do they see that we cannot? What do they have in their sights that puts butterflies in their bellies and strength in their pleas?
May we on this Sunday of Joy soften our gaze, don our pink, and trust the gospel. We can be honest about our suffering. We can break through the surface level and tell the truth about our need. The ones who see God say we are almost through.