This Advent and Christmas season is going to look different than past years. This year, because of
Covid19, many congregations, including ours, will not be able to gather to worship in-person in our
sanctuaries and worship spaces to light the Advent candles, sing the familiar carols, and hear the
familiar scriptures that tell the story of Jesus' coming.
But just because we cannot meet in-person that does not mean we cannot prepare our hearts and
spirits for the coming of the one who is Emmanuel, God with us, and celebrate his birth. This year has
been a dark and difficult year in many ways, and yet, in the midst of all that is happening, we can find
The gospel of John opens with powerful words of hope, reminding us that Christ is
“5 The light [that] shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it."
And so this year let us celebrate Jesus’ coming as light in the midst of the world’s darkness, a reminder
to us that God is still present and active, in our world and in our lives, no matter what our circumstances.
To remind us of this truth, our Advent and Christmas worship series is
I Believe, Even When….”
The history of humanity is filled with pain–especially the pain that comes accompanied by fear and
leads to oppression and violence of one people against another. This is the world into which Jesus was
born and which his teachings would challenge and call for transformation.
The theme song for this series is a poem whose exact origin is uncertain, but
which is said to have been written by a Jewish prisoner during the terrible time
of the Holocaust. The words of the poem are:
I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love, even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God, even when God is silent.
This theme song for our season calls us to examine our tendency to annihilate fear by annihilating each other. The power of narrative and music will call us to a different response– transformation and reconciliation through hope, love, joy, and peace. This Advent and Christmas, let us fill the night with music and light and affirm and act on the reasons why we can still “believe, even when” our world is turned upside down
and we are discouraged and grieving.