It's Advent. During a pandemic.
The typical traditions that give this season so much of its energy are on pause. Or at least, they are significantly altered for many of us.
We just received our script and costumes with directions to film our kids as sheep in our living room. Advent candles were handed out at a car parade for us to light each week. Instead of a packed room for a Christmas concert, our musicians are releasing an album this Friday of new songs for the season. One family at a time wears masks to enter the sanctuary to record a worship element for Christmas Eve...in November.
There is a time to grieve this season. Much of the grief of 2020 may be catching up with us now. Tears are good. Hard days are okay. We're carrying a lot.
Advent is still a season of wondering. Waiting. Listening. Anticipating. Dreaming.
How does it feel to hold the heaviness in one hand and dreaming in the other? Because we need them both.
I used to be someone who avoided lament. Why would I willingly dwell in the big emotions and hard realities of our world? But now, I understand. Lament is how we stay awake. Naming injustice and inequity and pain doesn't mean we'll live in it forever. It means we're awake to life's reality. We see it. We don't turn away. And in our showing up and paying attention to reality, we're prepared to cooperate with God's dreams for us.
When we refuse to lament, we can grow cold and distant to our needs and those around us. And if Advent is about waking up and preparing the way for Love's arrival, lament is one way we wake up.
Because we lament, we can dream.
And wow, do we need your dreams this year. 2020 pulled back the veil on much of what's been simmering under the surface for a long time.
You saw something this year that can be made new. What dreams are stirring in you? We hope you'll tend to them. Make space to think about them. Talk to a friend and name them out loud.
In the difficulty of this season and all that threatens to drown out dreams, talking about them is an act of radical resistance.
To open a new sheet of paper and wonder what could be? Pure courage.
So tell me, what are you dreaming about? There's a whole lot of people hoping you'll take steps in that direction in 2021. Because we all win when you are fully alive. All of us. Especially you.