By Megan Ginn

 

 

As the Research and Development Manager for CRN, I get the privilege to learn from leaders all over the country on how churches can serve and engage with their community. From commercial kitchens in church basements to hosting block parties in your neighborhood, churches are doing some amazing things.

However, even with all of the energizing conversations I’ve had, it’s still been a tough year. If you’re anything like me, since June you had some faint hope that stringing Christmas lights around your living room and the slightly cooler weather in Florida would boost your spirits after such a hard two years. Except now it’s just as tiresome except I’m drinking coffee from a festive mug.

Here are some resources if you’re also struggling this holiday season. For those who are fatigued from caring for others when it feels like you’re pouring from an empty bucket, or to those who are walking with others in the midst of uncertainty. These are not resources to mask hurt or bring you back to naive Christmas bliss, but a reminder that Advent provides hope for those in the midst of injustice and longing.

 

How to Do Advent When Nothing Seems Worth Celebrating by Chris Pappalardo

Oftentimes we can forget that Jesus was born into a community experiencing injustice and suffering. Not only that, but it felt like God was silent in the midst of it. This Christianity Today article helps us discover how to have hope when we are struggling to find joy and to know that Advent can be an invitation to not be okay.

“Without this sense of real longing, Christmas offers no sense of real hope. And if we already sense longing for healing and lament over injustice, we are that much closer to the spirit of Advent than we first thought.”

 

The Paradox of Advent by Nilwona Nowlin

In our reading of Christ’s birth, we can often glance over Anna the prophetess. However, in a time of waiting, loneliness, or longing, she shines as an example of expectant faith. Follow along on CCDA’s Advent reflections to be encouraged by the women who were a pivotal part of Jesus’ birth.

“The paradox of Advent is that I lift my eyes to the heavens in anticipation, but I also kneel down to worship and adore Emmanuel, God with us.”

 

O Holy Night by Kings Kaleidoscope

While I typically hold off on listening to Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, I decided this song doesn’t count. The lyrics are rich with meaning and whenever I’m overwhelmed this is what I need to hear. Not only that “in His name, all oppression will cease,” but that in the waiting – in the already-and-not-yet that we live in – he sees us and is with us.

“In all our trials born to be our friend; He knows our need, To our weakness is no stranger! Behold your King!”