Don't waste the weird

Some things we cannot change.

I'm pretty sure that this insight isn't original with me. (Check that: I'm 100% sure.) Still, I keep coming back to it these days.

I cannot change all that we'll miss in this Advent season... Sevices of music and neighborhood Christmas caroling. Christmas parties, especially the Sunday School class parties where people pretty much bring the same thing every year and that's okay because we like it. 

We'll miss the anxious devotion of church members lighting Advent candles, and the Christmas pageants where the ratio of recordings made to children participating is roughly 3:1. In my own family, the Christmas Eve brunch filled with too much food and just enough catching up will be replaced by a drive-by gift exchange for those who live nearby.

We'll miss the long, hard hugs of people who love each other and who have not seen each other for a while.

It's a weird Advent.

All of that is different presents us with an opportunity for a different kind of Advent journey. It may be more stripped-down, maybe closer to the bone. God knows that our lives are not all sparkle and joy, and as beautiful as our manger scenes may be, neither was the birth of God's Son. 

When I was in seminary we presented a reader's theater version of Luke's Christmas story from the Cottom Patch Gospel translation by Clarence Jordan. If you're not familiar with it, Jordan translated the gospels into the language of the south. (So, for example, Jesus went down to Atlanta, not Jerusalem.)

We struggled with one aspect of this production. Every time we practiced the Luke 2 nativity passage, we automatically switched from Jordan's southern tongue to King James English. It was a fierce habit to break.

Having stories and language ingrained in us can be useful and important. What is worn familiar, however, can block us from hearing truth new to us. The Spirit looks for cracks in our familiar in order to surprise and startle us and even reshape us with the new. This year Spirit has more than a sliver of an opening with which to work. The doors are wide open.

So, I invite you to join me for a free four-week Weird Advent series. Each week I'll share a video reflection on some aspect of the story that may hit home very differently in light of our present story. I'll share with you some prompts for journaling and a prayer for meditation. You'll have a chance to share your own thoughts and reflections in our Weird Advent FB group.

You can find out more and sign up here. 

I hope you'll join me. 

Because holy weirdness is a terrible thing to waste.

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