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Message from Rev. Carmen

Posted by St. Alban's Episcopal Church on December 1, 2022 at 12:20 AM

A mild case of Flu A hit our house in mid-November. With a bored kiddo home from school for a week, we were desperate for fun activities to keep us occupied!

 

So, I relented. We hauled down our Christmas tree and decorations from the attic much earlier than we typically would.

 

Usually, our decorating feels rushed as we try to squeeze it in between Thanksgiving travel and Advent activities at church. But this year, we were able to leisurely adorn the house with our stockings, garlands, reindeer, and of course, my beloved nativity collection.

 

At first, it was disorienting to have the house looking so festive weeks before we’d even lit one candle on the Advent wreath. I felt a bit sheepish to be joining the likes of the retailers who have been pushing the holidays on us since October with dollar signs in their eyes.

 

But as I unwrapped each angel, shepherd, Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus, it felt like a reunion with old friends. The shame faded away, and I felt something else.

 

Joy.

 

These tiny replicas of the holy family and their unlikely visitors reminded me of the joyous truth that our faith is always incarnational. That means it is centered on the belief that in Jesus Christ, God became a human being. And while we wait for Christ’s coming during Advent, we simultaneously celebrate his presence with us already. It’s both/and, not either/or.

 

I’ve been grateful for this small source of joy at a time when it has been greatly needed. As I learned about the recent shootings in Charlottesville, then in Colorado Springs, and then again in Chesapeake, Virginia, the brokenness of the world seemed overwhelming.

 

But somehow, being surrounded by creches and twinkly lights as I process my pain and sorrow, helps a tiny bit. We can lament violence and hatred around us while at the same time, holding in our hearts the joy of the incarnation.

 

Christ is coming, AND Christ is already with us.

 

This Advent, may you feel this joy too. May it serve to undergird and strengthen you for the waiting.

 

Yours in Christ,

Carmen

 

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