What are the aspects of the Advent-Christmas season that you most look forward to? I could name many—from Carols by Candlelight to the annual Edwards family Star Wars marathon that begins on Christmas evening. I particularly look forward to the Christmas Eve Contemplative service, when we gather in the stillness of the night to read scripture, sing carols, and share communion. Every year, the mystery of Christmas penetrates my soul when the soloist sings O Holy Night, the words wash through our dimly lit sanctuary: A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices!
It is that line from O Holy Night that forms our reflections at FBCH this Advent-Christmas season. How does a weary world rejoice? On Sunday mornings in Advent, we will consider that question as we reflect on the opening chapters of Luke’s Gospel. Alongside Luke, I’m also learning from Christina Figueres’ book, The Future We Choose: The Stubborn Optimist’s Guide to the Climate Crisis. Figueres is the former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change where she became the force that brought about the Paris Agreement. Figueres knows how dire the global situation is… and yet she is optimistic. We can make changes, and it begins with transforming our own mindsets. She challenges us to choose Stubborn Optimism, Endless Abundance, and Radical Regeneration. These are all traits I see in Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Mary as out of their own weary time and place, they dare to see a world where justice will thrive again—and then they do something about it, they go all in to make it so.
As Advent begins, world leaders will be gathering for COP 28—slated as the most important COP since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015. This is a crucial time for our weary world; we have the resources to save humanity from a future of despair, but will we act before it is too late? This is a time for us to gather within our FBCH community and to dare to dream the unimaginable will indeed happen—but only if we truly believe it can and then do something about it, going all in with the resources of our lives.
How does a weary world rejoice? The Christmas story gives us a lot to reflect on as we consider that question. Of course, being together is also a thrilling way to rejoice in weary times. See the online Advent-Christmas Events Calendar for opportunities to join with our church family this season.