Editor’s Note: In celebration of Advent, we have invited faith leaders to reflect on where they find hope, peace, joy, and love in this season. Each reflection will be followed a prayer for this season.
It was my sister J who first taught me about joy. She has a full-time job and is the primary caregiver for three ailing family members. “I am NOT going to let anybody steal my joy!” she said one day as we were cooking for someone. (In my family we cook, sing, and then plan the next round of cooking and singing). I don’t even remember what prompted the sentence, but there it was, joy – in the form of a grace we all possess. J owns her joy completely and spreads it around. Walk into her house and the joy is as palpable as the pots on the stove. It’s been years since she first spoke that sentence, and even I’m sure of it. As we cooked together last week, it had morphed into “Nobody can steal my joy. Period.”
This joy that I have, the world didn’t give it to me,
The world didn’t give it, and the world can’t take it away.
– Shirley Caesar
May God help us to recognize the joy in our hearts; to apprehend the simple joys hidden in plain sight, to be open to learning from others, and how to kindle a deeper joy so we may become flames of energy to manifest skillful acts of love that can bring about a just society and an end to hunger in the world.
Let us pray:
Patient and Loving God,
We are caught in the hustle and bustle—trying
to make ends meet, trying
to plan just right, trying
to get all the justice work done, trying
to make everyone happy, trying…
Time moves so quickly, we struggle to
to recognize this advent season.
Stop us in our tracks.
Give us wonder.
Give us anticipation.
Give us longing.
Prepare our hearts for your gifts of
Wrapped in swaddling clothes
and lying in a manger,
born in Bethlehem.
We wait for the one in whose name we pray,
Many thanks to Ana Hernández for writing this advent reflection. Ana is a composer/arranger, workshop facilitator, theomusicologist, songleader, and author. She travels around collaborating with groups small and large to deepen community and create beautiful liturgies in many different styles. She facilitates meaningful conversations using the Art of Hosting modalities. Ana’s work aims to bring each of us to a sustainable place in terms of showing up, being present, and listening generatively, so we can remember how beloved we all are.