Yesterday morning in worship we began our Advent series: “I Believe Even When…” This series is inspired by an anonymous poem discovered during the liberation of Nazi prison camps after World War II. Someone who went through The Holocaust wrote these words:
I believe in the sun; I believe in the sun;
even when, even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love; I believe in love;
even when, even when I don’t feel it.
I believe in God; I believe in God;
even when, even when God is silent.
These haunting words tell us that, even in the midst of unimaginable horror, someone was able to find hope and peace because of their faith in God. As we go through the season of Advent this year we will explore how we can find hope and help others find it in the midst of the dark places that often surround our own lives.
Advent is a season of preparation. It is a time for us to examine our lives and seek to meet the newborn King no matter where we may find ourselves. This time of year reminds us of God’s grace and the immense love God shows us by sending his Son to live and teach among us.
You will hear the words of this poem sung during our Advent worship services this year as we seek to remember that, no matter what darkness and despair may come into our lives, our faith must remain strong. Jesus will hold us up, from the manger to the cross, and God’s grace will heal us.
This is a season rich in symbolism and steeped in tradition. As you look around our church you will finds images that recall the anticipation of an empty manger; the joy of Good News proclaimed by angels; and even the foreshadowing of sacrifice upon the cross. Music and imagery will help to guide us through this wonderful season of anticipation as we await the arrival of Jesus.
This is the perfect time for you to encourage friends and family who may have gotten out of the habit of “church” to start coming back. There are many reasons why people stop attending church regularly or leave altogether. Sometimes church reminds them of someone they have lost; sometimes they feel they have been away too long to return; there may be misunderstandings or hurt feelings; there may be anger or disappointment. Whatever the reason people have drifted away, it is important that we encourage them to realize that church is precisely the place they need to be when they find themselves in a dark place. It is here they will find grace, healing, and comfort.
The “I Believe” verse we are inspired by this season ends with these words: “I believe in the Light, I believe in the Light, that has come, that has come, and is coming.” This Advent season we are encouraged by the belief that God’s Light will penetrate whatever darkness our world can create for itself and whatever dark place that we may wander into. This season we seek the grace of God to forgive us when we have contributed to the darkness in another person’s life and to lead us out of the darkness of this world into the Light of Christ.
We pray that your journey this season will bring you to the manger where you will find a deeper relationship with Jesus and that you will believe, even when…