It was like walking in on a Christmas Crime Scene. In Friday’s video, I mentioned that our Christmas tree had fallen over. Want to know the miracle? (Okay, that may be pushing it, since it fell on soft carpet and was a soft tree; but you know how these situations can make a person be a bit dramatic? And by a person, I mean me.)
Of all the ornaments, only three broke and needed gluing.
In terms of miracle, maybe not that noteworthy. But in terms of irony, it was a little off the scale. This was one of the broken ornaments:
Joy was broken.
Week one of Advent called us to actively wait, knowing that we need Jesus. Week two called us be prepared and we talked about what that means in light of a messy lives that need God’s peace.
And now we add joy into the mix. Even if it’s broken and needs glue.
Traditionally (and here’s I’m about to sound like I know far more than I do), week three has a different color candle—pink— to show that we are more than half way through Advent.
Christmas, she is a’coming. Which means, Jesus, he is a’coming.
It also has a special name: Gaudete Sunday. Guess what, you probably already knew this, but didn’t know you knew it. Remember from the song O come, o come emmanuel and ransom captive Israel? The refrain is Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, oh Israel. Unless you sing it in Latin—which I don’t think I have, but I must have because sometimes I sing —Gaudete Gaudete Emmanuel murmur murmur (since I don’t really know Latin).
Gaudete means rejoice!
Too often I seem to have gotten the message that we rejoice when. When life is going well. When the dishes are done. When we got the raise. When all the money is in. When we have time.
But Mary, the mother of Jesus, reminds us that “the Mighty One has done great things for me.” This is why we rejoice. This is why we can have joy in the midst of our, to put it mildly, often less than ideal lives.
Problems with your ex? Rejoice.
Bills piling up? Rejoice.
Feeling lonely? Rejoice.
Church, or work team, or ministry team in crisis? Rejoice.
Child needing surgery? Rejoice.
Not because of those situations, but in the midst of them. I have a slight beef with people who have false emotions in reaction to real situations. People who are always sappy happy or turn too quickly to Christian-ese make me want to take two giant steps back and look for the nearest exit. Where is a good lament when you need one? A “God will smite you!” song? Here is why we can rejoice, God agrees this world is a hot mess.
But it’s a hot mess he dearly loves. His kingdom is breaking in. Kimberlee reminds us: “It is God who does great things, to be sure, as Mary herself proclaims, but how great a God we serve, that he would allow us, invite us, long for us to participate in his redeeming work in the world.”
Your joy may feel broken this year. Or it might feel sparkly and magical. Either way, Advent reminds us to be “joyfully aware of the presence of God.”
I used to hate the color pink. It seemed so stereotypically girly. Cliche. Yuck. But then the polluted air of Beijing ate holes in my corneas and I couldn’t wear my contacts after decades of being a contact wearer. I had to switch to glasses and on a whim bought a pair of pink glasses. Hey, if I have to wear glasses, I can at least protest by making them fun. It’s not that God wants us to see the world only through rose colored lenses. No, he sees the real pain of this world, but he frames in the pink of his Joy.
This week, where can you rejoice? Where is pink woven into your world? May pink remind us to rejoice in who God is.
Susan Gaines says
Loved this! And love you, Amy. Thank you for the post.
xoxox to you Susan!
Kimberlee Conway Ireton says
Love this, Amy (and not because you quote me, ego-gratifying as that was). You’re just so dang real, and I appreciate that. Plus you used the term “hot mess.’ Plus you’re funny. Plus I just bought my first pair of pink glasses since second grade; they’re actually purple-pink, and you helped me realize that they’re perfect for Advent. For my life. A reminder right on my face that repentance (purple) and rejoicing (pink) go hand in hand, for we turn, turn, till we’re turned round right, and find that God is waiting for us with open arms and we rejoice. Bless you.
Kimberlee, guess what?! In church on Sunday I had the privilege of lighting the Advent candle. I wore a pink dress to be a walking object lesson … and realized as I walked in in my PURPLE jacket, God has a sense of humor. Now I’ll think of you and you when i’m aware of my glasses :). Grace and peace to you!
Jody Collins says
Amy, I read another post this week about how being joyful in the middle of Really Hard Stuff is a real thing for Christians not a made up thing. We have the joy of Jesus. Regardless. I looked hard for it today, thanks to the preparation of my heart via Ms. K’s book and another Advent devotional. And I found it!
These weekly wrap ups are such a blessing.
(and for the record, ‘gaudete’? I’ve actually sung that word, so I knew what it meant. But then I love Latin ’cause it’s such a rich language….and powerful to sing, too.)
It doesn’t surprise me AT ALL that you’d know Latin :).
Laurie Klein says
Amy, thank you. Such good reminders, offered with candor and a wink and what feels like a hug coming off the screen in waves . . .
We all need them, don’t we? I know I sure need these reminders!! Thanks Laurie!
Nancy Ruegg says
What fun it is to read your posts, Amy, written by someone I’ve met face-to-face, plus comments by two more face–to-facers! Your fallen tree story reminded me of the year our tree fell down (also on soft carpet so only a few ornaments broke). I’ll have to write a post sometime of how God turned that small disaster into an experience of love and humor. (Too long to tell here!) ‘Love your observations about God loving our hot-mess of a world and his kingdom breaking in. I’m rejoicing that he helped me find my car this morning in a large and confusing parking garage!!