The days march forward. Preparations are being made in our sanctuary to hold the Celebration of Life service for Debbie Shable, Bernie Depperschmidt's daughter who passed away early last week. It is strange to prepare a physical space after so many months of everything being virtual. This gathering will be extremely small for immediate family only, and we are taking all of the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe. You can join the livestream of that celebration at 10:30 am on Friday if you wish.
In my conversations, Debbie's husband shared with me something the hospital chaplain told him: that this season, Advent, this season of watching and waiting and preparing a way, is the most holy time of the year.
And I can feel it. Even though we can't sing carols together or share delectable treats prepared by various church families. Even though I can't hug you or shake your hand or even be in the same room with you, I can still feel your presence. I can feel the Holy connecting us.
I feel connected through the shadows. The shadows of this pandemic that is robbing us of 2,000 American lives each day right now. The shadows of growing economic and financial struggle. The shadows of a Christmas that will be like none that we can remember. The shadows of isolation and loneliness.
And I feel connected through the light that shines around us, among us, and from within us. Our children and youth carrying in their candles each Sunday as we gather for worship. The carols that Cora and I sing each evening as she prepares for sleep. The growing piles of socks for our neighbors experiencing homelessness. And in each day of our Advent calendar as we explore another way to give thanks, to prepare, to reach out.
This is indeed a holy season. This is a season of light shining in the shadows. And the shadows will not overcome it. This is a season where we allow God to light hope, peace, joy and love on the wicks of our lives. This is a season of thin spaces where the distance between holy and mundane, sacred and secular narrows and you can almost reach through and touch the divine. Or maybe it's not a matter of almost. Perhaps, really, the divine is already reaching through and touching us. With tenderness and truth, with courage and compassion, with hope and happiness, with faith and love.
May you, too, feel the holiness of this time,