Thursday of the Third Week
ReflectionI looked at my mom with uncertainty, as I poised my fingers over the piano keys. My mom nodded at me, and announced to the room that we were starting with Joy to the World. She was met with silence, as the seniors in the common room slept, stared ahead blankly, or muttered quietly to themselves. I was thirteen, and felt a mixture of impatience at being in a nursing home at 8:30am on Christmas morning and nerves at playing music to a room full of people who did not seem interested in having us there.
As a family, we participated in various opportunities to give back to the community during the holiday season, and my mom had informed us this year before church we would be going to a nursing home to play Christmas hymns, then provide company for seniors who didn’t have family visiting on Christmas. I dusted off my Reader’s Digest ‘Merry Christmas Songbook,’ and trudged along (thirteen-year-olds are fairly adept at trudging).
The first chords for Joy to the World echoed through the room, and a strong, beautiful soprano voice rang out. One of the women, who had been unresponsive when we entered, was sitting upright and singing confidently and clearly. As the verse continued, more voices joined in, some frail, some full, all beautiful. There were tears and smiles as the hymns continued and the room resonated with joyful singing alongside the remembrance of faith traditions that transcended years.
In those moments when we doubt the impact of our gifts, our fear of not connecting with others, we can look to Isaiah and be reminded that it is always possible to “enlarge the space for your tent, spread out your tent cloths unsparingly.” As we do, we will uncover the multitude of threads that weave us to one another. And what joy there is there in finding those connections! As this season of Advent moves from expectation to longing to this third week of joy, may we find ourselves in places where we allow the power of our faith, the impact of the smallest act of generosity, and the depth of love to ground us and connect us fully to one another.
-Sarah Borger, Prevention & Education Coordinator, Women's Center