Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come
among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins,
let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver
us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and
the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen. (found here)
* * *
This week is the third week of Advent. This week is joy and the color is rose. I don’t really approve, though. I don’t have much joy in my heart. I never have.
I don’t like or trust flashy or glitzy things. I dislike loud noises and large crowds. I am highly introverted and am afraid of meeting too many new people at once. I really hate the noon sun, or any kind of direct light–especially fluorescent light. I use a copious number of lamps to light my house and office (when I can) so that I do not have to turn on the overhead lights. I sit in darkness and wait for dawn every morning. Dusk is, perhaps, the most exhilarating part of my day. I like Fall because the leaves are beautiful in death–hopeful in suffering. I like the season of Advent because it is the first vague hope of a cold incarnation.
I don’t have any joy yet. I just don’t. My family will come into town next week and we will have a feast and open presents and “do Christmas.” But, until then, I want to stick with hope and peace, with dusk and dawn, with flickering flames and mournful songs.
Evidently there are some people who never doubt their faith, and who experience every day with Jesus as sweeter than the day before. Such people make me nervous. The longer I live, and the more I read those stories in the old Book, the more I’m convinced that being a christian or believing in God or keeping the faith or however you want to phrase it, is a daily rickety ride of summoning the guts to utter that phrase, which I’m sure you recall: Give us this day our daily bread. And although yes, we’re asking for literal bread, the deeper request is Please give us faith for the day. I believe that’s a bit, and maybe even a bunch, of what it means to be a christian – someone who wakes up shaky and asks for just enough to make it one more day.
* * *
O God of Isaiah and John the Baptist,
through all such faithful ones
you proclaim the unfolding of future joy
and renewed life.
Strengthen our hearts to believe your advent promise
that one day we will walk in the holy way of Christ,
where sorrow and sighing will be no more
and the journey of God’s people will be joy. Amen. (found here)