The pastor of the church where I work stepped into my office last week (3rd week of Advent) and asked, “What do you think if we sing ‘Joy to the World’ this week?” He knows that I think Advent is a time of waiting for the coming of the Christ child; it’s not a time of celebrating Christmas; it’s Advent. But, also, he was preaching on the Philippians 4 Lectionary text, “rejoice in the Lord always”; and it was, after all, the Sunday of the “pink” candle of joy. But still, I was surprised that my answer of “yes” came so quickly.
In part I gave that answer because I had just read a blog posted by my daughter [“Confessions of a Part-time Pastor: Thanksgiving Edition”; see #4]. She actually thanked people for turning on their Christmas lights early this year, because of all the horror that are going on around us. I resonated with the blog, even though I’m usually complain about Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.
And, then, as I reflect on my life right now, it’s no wonder I said “yes” to “Joy to the World”so quickly.
I have experienced the last four Christmas seasons in totally different spaces. All of us are different every year, so each Christmas we are in different places. I get that. But I have physically and emotionally been in different places each of the last four years.
- 2012—celebrating with my husband, living in Winfield, KS
- 2013—celebrating without my husband, living in a temporary house in Lawrence, KS
- 2014—celebrating without my husband, living in a permanent house in Lawrence, KS, with my daughter and her family
- 2015—celebrating without my husband, living in a permanent apartment in Lawrence, KS, on my own (for the first time as an adult, since I was married at 18!)
So, yes, despite all I believe about the importance of Advent and waiting and preparing, I am ready to sing “Joy to the World.” And yesterday, I do so, with much gusto.
Don’t judge me too harshly.