Today’s CliffNotes is written by Ministry Intern Danielle Pruitt.
Dear Christ Church,
I love this short Advent poem by Madeleine L’Engle, titled “After the Annunciation”:
This is the irrational season
when love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
there’d have been no room for the child.
Ivanka Demchuk “Annunciation”
Advent is a season of pronounced tension, where we receive the invitation to continuously contemplate that we live in a world split in two, in the liminal space between Christ’s comings. We live in light of the incarnation and Christ’s victory on our behalf over sin, death, and the devil, and yet we long for the day when he returns and we get to experience that reality in full.
It’s a tension we feel acutely as we witness the world’s unfathomable pain and suffering, and we bear the darkness in our own hearts and lives. Things are not as they ought to be. We are not yet who we will be. In light of this, faith can often feel irrational. It doesn’t make sense to see the world and ourselves with unflinching clarity and to continue to hold fast to the hope that yes, here, even here, God is at work. Christ is present.
It takes an act of God’s Spirit to suspend our doubt, skepticism, and despair long enough to see that there is still beauty and goodness to behold, bright and wild, even if only in tiny shoots, so small and imperceptible we may miss them if we don’t have eyes to see.
If faith feels irrational, joy can seem to be even more so. This Sunday, we’ll gather as a church for the third Sunday of Advent, Gaudete Sunday, marking this time by lighting the third pink candle on our wreath. Gaudete comes from the latin word for “joy,” and our candle reflects this, as pink is the liturgical color for joy. It’s meant to serve as a break from the penitence of the Advent season. It’s an invitation to embrace joy in the reality that Christ has indeed come to us in his Incarnation, continues to break into our lives now by way of his Spirit, and that He will come again to judge, mend, and set every last broken thing to rights.
As we gather together and meditate on joy this Sunday, I pray for a sense of holy irrationality to spring up in you, and in me. May we suspend our reason just long enough to be surprised by what God may be doing in and among us. That in the places we least expect, dark and mysterious as a womb, new life is taking form. Our God is unceasingly coming to us, taking up residence in our world, in our hearts, and in our lives. Lord, prepare a place in us to receive you with joy.
Peace to you and yours,