As I sit here writing to you, I find myself short on energy and somewhat numbed by the lack of daily connections with others. This new monotony has somehow muted my sense of meaning. Each day seems so similar to the last that it has become hard to track the days. Most notably, perhaps, I find myself lacking the traditional joy of the build-up to Christmas.
The tree is up and the lights are on, but the usual activities are either cancelled or have become fraught with an exhausting amount of complications. Simply finding a way to be with a minimal number of friends or family to preserve some modicum of Christmas tradition requires more emotional bandwidth and planning than I can manage at the moment. Quarantine agreements and political animus combine to make this Advent and Christmas season feel like a field of landmines that I’m not sure I have the energy or expertise to navigate without misstep.
Maybe you’re feeling similar. Never before have I found myself so in sync with the longing and desperation of Advent. Observing that my emotions seem to be aligned with the church calendar brings me little comfort, if at all, but I cannot help but wonder what God might have for us in this season.
In the midst of the aches and pains of this holiday season, I believe God is revealing so much in each of our interior lives that He longs to heal. With so much emotion bubbling to the surface, we have access to parts of our hearts that we might not have just a matter of weeks or months ago.
I don’t have a trite one-liner that is the silver bullet for these unusual and painful times, but I do want to invite you to join me in being curious about where God is meeting us in these times. I want to offer a couple practical ways to practice being present to the pain that might be coming to the surface for you in this season:
- Reach out. If you are finding yourself feeling down, please don’t hesitate to reach out to your DNA leaders, the staff, or clergy. We would love to be with you in the midst of your sadness and would also love to process and pray with you.
- A Body Prayer Exercise. Mallory wrote a body prayer exercise a couple of months back that is aimed at intentionally opening up space for us to invite the Holy Spirit to help us to move our grief through our bodies. Our culture doesn’t have any built-in grief rituals and we desperately need them! Friends, you are not walking alone through this season!
May the peace of Christ be with you,