Julie’s Jar: Thankful, Curious, Hopeful

A white ceramic five-pointed star is stied over a wooden five-pointed star with a thick red cord.

Six months ago, Mike and I really thought there would be inside, in person worship at FCC Pomona during Advent. Well, we can’t predict the future. When I’ve lived through difficult experiences and seasons in my life, these questions help reframe my experience. What am I learning? What can I learn from this? In other words, I’m seeking help from God, the One who created me in the first place, to grow and deepen my resilience.

Here is one item I’m grateful for: If you tune in for worship live or later, you will be (I hope) lighting your own Advent candle WITH us in worship. The candles in your home, if you haven’t had them before, will be a daily reminder of the preparations we are making collectively and individually to welcome the Christ Child into our hearts and homes. You will have a daily visual reminder of the theme of the week, and I hope this gives you an opportunity to pause and invite God to lead you in reflection.

Here is something I am learning: There is still much beauty and joy being experienced in the lives of people in our congregation. I get to hear these stories, and I hope you’ll be generous in sharing your stories of beauty and joy even more with each other. I am also learning I need a lot more time in contemplative prayer to manage the trauma we are collectively living through. The pandemic experience amplifies every loss, every frustration, every sadness. It takes more time and practice to amplify the sacred than it used to.

Here is something I hope: I hope that you will create a new tradition. The holiday season is full of lots of traditions; we are accustomed to doing the things that are familiar. That is not possible this year. An enormous gift we are being given is to jettison the burdensomeness of some traditions, to re-evaluate what serves our preparing for Christ, to create something new. The birth story is about the creation of something new; it is a decidedly the start of, “We’ve never done it that way before”.

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