From the Office of Jo Forrest: Advent 2023

The Advent rituals of decorating, cookie baking, card writing, and Christmas planning usually lift my spirits. To bless an early nightfall, I’d light a candle and turn up the tunes. This year, that all seems frivolous.

The horrific wars that are fought on foreign shores weigh on my heart. Our elected leaders seem to draw lines in the sand rather than try to draw us together. We bicker over the economy. Too many kids still go hungry.

Some of you share these laments and some of you are just weary of laments.

When it feels as though closing the door to the world might make my heart safe is when I need to hear the stories of God of coming to people long ago.

Zechariah and Elizabeth, too aged to matter, bear John the Baptist. Mary, insignificant by all appearances, says “yes.”

They create a home for the Christ Child. Their lives tell a story of weariness turning to joy that is possible for us today.

Because of Jesus’ birth, no matter how ugly this world might seem, when we baptize babies in his name their faces light up with joy. Parents and grandparents too. It’s not the frilly dress. We all know that as we raise children in the church, they will carry this sacred story.

Because of Jesus’ death and resurrection, when we lay to rest our loved ones, we trust him to welcome them home. In deep sorrow, God promises this joy.

If you’re feeling a bit weary, come sit by me and the others at Westminster. We’ve stories to share. Songs to sing. Joy to experience.