December 7, 2020

Frederick Buechner wrote, “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” I read an article recently about letters to Santa written by children this year. Several of them mentioned an end to the pandemic and a vaccine. Never in my life did I imagine that I’d put a vaccine at the top of my list.

In this season of loss, deep gladness (what I think of as joy), seems almost impossible. The day before my sister Jane, died, I and three other members of St. Paul’s spent the better part of the morning recording music and words to accompany a video of photos of Hanging of the Greens past. It felt defiant, an in-your-face COVID gesture to meet a deep hunger of our congregation for a familiar worship service.

The Hanging of the Greens liturgy has happened every Advent since 1952 at St. Paul’s. Its production involves children, youth, adults, musicians and singers, and a host of helpers. We realized a few weeks ago that while we couldn’t make it happen safely in person, we could use the liturgy and music, and add photos of Hanging of the Greens past.

In the midst of “almost impossible”, while we were recording the various items to be included in a video for the congregation, deep gladness rose, unbidden and surprising. And perhaps therein is a lesson for this season.  The world’s deep needs seem overwhelming. Take heart!  Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Here is a simple formula to follow this season. What brings you deep gladness? What’s a deep need within your own community or circle? Apply great love.

So pour love into the small things in this season. Such love touches one small part of the world’s great hunger. ~ Anne

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