What have you been feeling this year? Anticipation? Uncertainty? Frustration? Uneasiness? Gratefulness? Desire for safety? Longing for other times? Joy? Loss? Disappointment? Calm? Hope?
We all desire normalcy. Yet, what does that even mean anymore? Just think, a year ago, we had NO idea what was coming. We gathered together...TOGETHER. That seems like such a magical thing right now. Since then, we have experienced and learned so many new things. Our kids, at a tender age, are now experts at wearing face masks, quarantining, Zoom meetings, social distancing, toilet paper shortages, stay at home orders, hybrid and distance learning, living with new disappointments, and at the same time learning to problem solve and be creative.
It was while watching a flag football game (while sitting 6-feet physically distanced) that we, Jenny and Deb, had a conversation about the upcoming Advent season and what we would miss. We talked about how we would miss seeing familiar family and friends at church. We would miss the music, the decorations, the connection with one another, and sharing of stories. We would miss being able to sing “Silent Night” by candlelight all together. We also felt sad and disappointed for our kiddos who would miss out on the joy of our annual Christmas Pageant and choral celebration. “What could we do that could still bring some joy?” we thought. “How can we think differently about how to do a Christmas Pageant? How has our community been affected by events this year? Could we reach other members who might be feeling similar things as well?”
We wanted to be able to come together in some way to bring to light concerns and struggles in our community. We also wanted to be able to tell the hopeful story of Jesus’ birth, even though it would be different. We might not be able to sing and act out things all together, but it didn’t mean that we couldn’t weave a new type of pageant together. We might have 3 different Gabriel angels, and 4 different people playing Mary, but we could still tell the story of Jesus’ birth.
We are so excited to share with you a story we all know. A story about hope, peace, joy and love. We want to thank everyone who played a role in bringing this story to life.
-Jenny Popp and Deb Wolterstorff
Part of my uneasiness, I discovered, involved grieving. We have been grieving so many things this year. Some of us more than others, some of us with very deep losses, and for various reasons. We have all probably felt some kind of loss. Yet, how can we be there for each other? How can Christ be our light and hope with us?
“Welcome to Our World” by Chris Rice, to me has been a prayer in this season, in our world that currently seems so sick and broken. In our world that can still continue to have light and hope.
Welcome to Our World
Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God.
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting
Welcome Holy Child.
Hope that You don’t mind our manger
How I wish we could have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home.
Please make Yourself at home.
Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven’s silence
Welcome to our World.
Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sins and make us holy
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world.