Advent greetings everyone! This month our Into the Deep writers are reflecting on the Scripture readings of Advent. As we celebrate the 3rd Sunday of Advent, I offer some thoughts on Philippians 4:4-7 and our call to “Rejoice in the Lord always!” Joy often takes us by surprise! Other times it’s hard to find joy (the holidays can be filled with sadness, loneliness, grief, and blah)- I get that, too. Wherever you find yourself during these Advent days, I pray that God fills your heart with all that you need.
It feels like forever since I attended a live music concert! Last week, I stepped into a brightly lit church to enjoy an evening holiday concert for the first time in nearly 2 years. I’d forgotten that sensation of orchestra music reverberating off the marble walls and echoing across the high ceiling. I sat in this sacred space while a chamber choir, sans microphones, filled the rafters with acapella voices. The chamber set was juxtaposed with a Mexican folk ensemble, whose toe-tapping percussion made for an imaginary street festival. In the final encore, the two choirs joined together for a recognizable Spanish Christmas tune. Suddenly, half the church rose to their feet, huge smiles beaming behind their masks, and everyone clapping along to the rhythm. Joy! It was pure joy!! Moments of joy are undeniable, and they often take us by surprise. (Continue reading…)