Seeking Silver Linings
Deanna Hamilton

Advent sort of crept up on us this year. While we were fumbling about, recovering from two years of grief and pain, Advent 2022 arrived and flooded us with memories of togetherness and love. It also created the anticipation of knowing that this Christmas, we may be able to finally see loved ones with whom those memories are shared. Yet, while our hearts are excited, our minds may be conflicted. The wounds of Covid are still fresh and the pandemic’s long-term effects continue to influence how we worship, gather, and indeed live. We find ourselves struggling to reconcile the way things “were” with the way things “are.”

It seems to me that this year, we need the Advent season more than ever. With a renewed emphasis on the importance of local communities and a desire for connection, Advent 2022 presents an opportunity to reacclimate, heal, and Come Home. Personally, I have always thought that this season was defined by LOVE … the type of love that when combined with GRACE, makes all things possible. That powerful combination is what sustained us “then” and what can propel us forward “now.”

Mary experienced almost that same combination of LOVE and GRACE in a time when she felt unseen. Read Luke 1:46-55

He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God.

Luke 1:50

Recognizing there are many who continue to struggle with post-COVID mental health issues AND/OR who may find themselves enveloped in isolation, our challenge for the 2022 Advent season should be: What can we do to share the powerful grace experience that God has shown us with those who feel unseen?

This advent season, we are called to revisit the meaning of one of the most important seasons in the life of our Christian faith. While doing this work, God’s prevenient grace is awaiting in our hearts. It is waiting in the community around us that we have yet to discover and see. Let us be that agent of grace and love this season. Let us dare to love others radically as Christ has called us to do.

In this year of reemergence, let us revisit our traditions and question if they make space for others that do not look like us. Let us revisit the images of our Advent season and see those that are unseen in them. Let us RE visit and, in doing so, encourage others TO visit.  

Maybe then, the Advent season that crept up on us just a few weeks ago will have an extended purpose … for our own homecoming as well as for new beginnings that we may not have even realized we needed.

Thanks be to God for silver linings … and for the gift of each other.