Let my soul rise up to meet you, as the day rises to meet the sun…

I’ve done a lot soul-searching over the past year, and a whole lot of dealing with all my— let’s call it— complexity. And one particular aspect of this complexity, is that I feel a lot of emotions. Like, lots and lots of feelings. However, it is hard for me to process them, and it’s even harder for me to name them.

It’s weird, contradictory and ironic, and none of that is lost on me, but it’s the truth. I feel deeply, but it’s hard for me to understand what I feel.

And yet this year, I’ve been introduced to more spiritual rhythms and practices, daily and weekly rituals that guide my thoughts and prayers. Ancient words repeated over and over and over again. Words said before me and words that will be said after me. This is liturgy – this is literally translated – the work of the people.

The crazy part is that this work of the people guides the words of this person. It is the work of a collective of people, but has also become the daily work of this one person. It is filling my gaps, becoming the lexicon that was lost, and giving meaning behind all these feelings.

…Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

See, I never knew the richness of this faith. The traditions that stretch deep into the soil under our feet. The hymns, the prayers, the yearly calendar that marks our joy, our lament, our longing. But we’re unearthing these things together and it gives language to my soul.

….As it was in the beginning.

So here we are at Advent, a particular season of anticipation, of waiting, of expectancy. Of course, it’s the season that leads to Christmas, full of joy and love, and I love Christmas. But this year, I particularly love a Christmas that comes at the end of Advent. Because the Christmas that comes after Advent is not tinsel without depth, and it’s not cheer without longing. The Christmas that comes after Advent is both/and. It is joy because we’ve been waiting. It is abundance because we recognize our gifts. It is generosity because we see all the times this past year when we’ve felt so impoverished — relationally, physically, financially.

…Is now, and will be, forever. 

So, yes, I’ve been mixed up, tossed about, seen my junk, cried a lot of tears, been forgiven — all so many times — over this year. But I — and Chris too — are tapping into something greater. It’s the both/and. The joy and the lament, the gratitude and the longing. The ancient and the future. The tradition and the newness.

And the grandness of it all is almost too much for me.


  • Donna Hopkins

    I am applying the concept of both/and to my life almost every day. By substituting both/and for the word but, I have changed my thinking and therefore my actions. I am struggling and I am making progress. Sometimes all that is needed is a subtle shift to make a significant difference. Your words, shared here, always make me think and reconsider.

    January 2nd, 2017 11:18

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