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Volume 37, No. 23

12/7/23 | Newsletter

The Tortuous Embrace of Life - 

A good friend of mine sent me a quote from Dan Snyder’s book Praying in the Dark. It reads as follows:

“Whether spirituality begins with an altar call at a tent revival or gazing at the stars, it is essentially a conversation between the depths of our own being and the mystery of the universe. What does anyone do with the wonder of simply being alive, breath by breath, or what does anyone do with a loved one’s suffering and our own helplessness? This world holds us in an exquisitely tortuous embrace where her right hand caresses us with astonishing beauty and her left shatters us with unspeakable sorrow. Spirituality in all its forms is fashioned out of eons of human efforts to be fully present to both wonder and tragedy. Beauty elicits a cry of celebration and sorrow a cry of agony. How does anyone take the raw human experience of undefended vulnerability and turn it into courage, wisdom, hope, and the capacity to love? We never get closure on these questions but we wouldn’t be fully human if we didn’t keep asking them.”

I’ve been reflecting on this a lot recently. It seems for so many of us, life feels like a mixed bag of celebration and sorrow, beauty, and agony. As we continue the Advent journey, my hope is that we create space for both the joy and grief of life. This is, of course, why God chose to become human, so God could know us more deeply and become more acquainted with the raw reality of human existence. Isn’t that the wonder of Christmas? That God loved us so deeply, God chose to experience undefended vulnerability, so that God could draw nearer to each of us.

Advent does not demand your joy if you don't have it to give. Advent is the miracle that whatever it is you feel, God wanted to feel it too, so God came in human flesh, undefended and unprotected, to close the gap between us and the divine. You are not alone, that is the joy of Christmas. God took on human flesh to know the wonder and tragedy of being alive, to journey the heights and depths of life so that truly there would be nowhere you could go that God wouldn't be with you. 

All my love,
Pastor Victoria