Welcome to #ccdaAdvent.
CCDA invites you to consider what the hope of Advent meant for the women who were a pivotal part of Jesus’s birth. Join us in a communal reflection on the very real ways Jesus’s birth and incarnation required an unexplainable hope during a season of waiting and darkness.
Each devotional will include a reflection, breath prayer, art, and worship. We pray that the reflections and prayers within these Advent devotionals bring renewed inspiration, anticipation, and hope in the Kingdom of God that has come and is to come. Amen.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.”
“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.”
Devotional written by: Vola Ranaivoson, CCDA Writing Team
With my visa’s expiration date approaching rapidly in September 2021, I packed up and left the US, leaving my family and all that I knew for the unknown. Though I have a new job lined up, I’m awaiting visa approval before I can start my new job. For me, the experience of dealing with an immigration system that values certain passports over others has been one of constant fluctuation, of having to jump through hoops to prove qualification, and of feeling the need to be worthy enough to visit and live in a certain country. I became all too familiar with what feels like the never-ending season of waiting: the waiting for hopeful news to arrive; the waiting to be reunited with my family who I haven’t seen in years; the waiting of being able to start a job/school. This waiting, coupled with all that 2020-2021 brought – loss, grief, and uncertainty – made the wait feel even longer. It felt impossible to hold onto hope. Hope seemed like a cruel joke that kept inching away as I got closer to it. I kept asking myself, “What does hope look like in the midst of waiting in darkness, pain, and despair?”
Sometimes it’s hard to light the candle and drink the tinsel
When Christmas seems to not unwrap gifts but wounds
Reminding us of the people we’ve lost
Of the things that have been stolen
Of despair of grieving
The kind of sadness a Christmas carol can’t seem to shake
And what do we do with this baby?
This savior whose arrival had no celebrity,
no red carpet, no paparazzi
Just mary and joseph, and manger animals
And stars to lead wise men
What does this Jesus have to do with our brokenness and wounds?
What does he have to say when the plotlines of our lives
don’t wrap up neatly like a Christmas tune?
(Advent for Weary Souls feat. Amena Brown & Michael Gungor)
What does this Jesus have to do with our brokenness and wounds? Advent invites us into the waiting for this answer. This year, I have found solace with the women named in Jesus’s genealogy in Matthew 1: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bethsheba, Mary. In naming these specific women, we know they each experienced tremendous darkness and despair in their context. We know they had to hold on to an unexplainable hope, and we know now that Christ elevates and redeems their stories by including them in his bloodline. These women’s resilience, faithfulness, and unexplainable hope literally birthed the Son of God who would save the world.
Fleming Rutledge, in Advent Begins in the Dark, says “To be a Christian is to live every day of our lives in solidarity with those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, but to live in the unshakable hope of those who expect the dawn.” What if this Advent season, instead of skipping to the good, positive, and happy news of Jesus’ coming, of everything made right, we ask God to lead us as we wait in the darkness and shadow of the unknown? What if Advent begins in the dark? Reflect on these questions:
- What if we wait in the darkness with those who are separated from their families as they wait to be reunited with their loved ones?
- What if we wait in the darkness with those whose homeland has been ravaged by war?
- What if we wait in silence and darkness with those who grow weary of waiting for justice to come?
- What if we wait in the darkness with the CCDA practitioner who is weary and tired from being on the frontlines, caring for the souls of others even in the midst of their own grief and burdens?
- What if we wait in darkness with the earth as it is affected by the impacts of climate change?
In Isaiah 9:2 it says, “The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness, a light has dawned.” As we wait and hope in the midst of the darkness and uncertainty, we remember his unshakable promise that Christ is with us and will go before us and is making all things new.
So that’s what we will do together: Wait. Lament. Sit in silence. Hope.
How do we hold the tension of darkness and hope? Go deeper with our workshop here: The Pilgrimage Of Pain And Hope: Leading In Your Context