Attempting Advent Inspiration

Here’s what I wrote our congregation, Woodridge UMC, this week:

In this fourth week of Advent, we continue to wait for the birth of the Christ Child. In lieu of some inevitably over-long treatise, allow me to offer a few brief instances of inspiration I’ve recently encountered. 

Wanting words of wisdom to redirect our thinking?
“Darkness and blackness and night are too often compared to lightness and whiteness and day and found deficient, but let us name the beauty and goodness and holiness of darkness and blackness and night. God uses darkness and blackness and night to show love for the world. God poured out love and brought all things into being. Creation is God’s work done in holy darkness.” 

—Sharei Green and Beckah Selnick, in God’s Holy Darkness, the book we’re reading during Children’s Conversation on Sunday mornings

Feeling overwhelmed by all the obligations on top of all the ways the world is on fire?
“Dear God, please just show me what is mine to do because otherwise I will feel horrible not doing everything or callus for just doing nothing. So, give me grace for myself and others. When all I can do is stop during the day and place my hand on my heart and hold all these heavy realities up to you, may it count as prayer. I guess what I am saying Lord, is: please show us some mercy, and help us to show this same mercy to ourselves and others.” 

— The Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, The Corners newsletter

Longing for a song to unlock your motivation?
“It’s time to dream fierce dreams, like Mary did. Brave dreams, like Joseph did. New dreams, like Jesus did. Because those who dream, change everything. Those who dream, change everything.” 

—The Many (watch their lyric video of this song here)

Searching for joy?
“If we understand God’s dream is a world where all flourish, we will find that dream coming to life anywhere there is beauty, anywhere there is peace, anywhere there is love. We will find that joy-filled dream in oceans, in beaches, in forests. In neighborhoods, in cities, in trees (and homes!) surrounded in lights. In gifts given with care, in books that inspire. In meaningful conversations, in delightful intergenerational interactions, in difficult questions and uncomfortable conversations. In laughing and in singing and in dancing.”

—Uh, me! I said this in my sermon last Sunday.

Needing a prayer for the day?
“May the Creator of the stars bless your Advent waiting, the long-expected Savior fill you with love, the unexpected Spirit guide your journey.” 

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