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Dear Church,

I’m BACK!!!

Thank you all, so very much, for the time you gave to me to recover from labor and bond with our newborn child, Ivy. Many of you have been asking me how it’s been going and my response is usually: it’s both wondrous and completely exhausting. This new family member has entered into our lives and while we are madly in love, our entire family is massively sleep-deprived as well! This little girl has not yet been
socialized into our human patterns of wake and sleep and will wake up at all hours of the day (and night!).

This kind of lifestyle is difficult for me because I thrive on consistency and routine. I like getting my 8 hours of sleep each night! I like waking up at the same time each morning and having some time to myself for a self-care routine of coffee, writing, and prayer. I can’t do any of that with this new creature in our house. And just when I depend on getting a certain task done that day is when she will decide to wreak havoc on that plan by having a totally different rhythm than the one she had the day before.

In the midst of this exhaustion, I try to remind myself that this crazy and inconsistent time is temporary. I look at my eldest child and see how fast the time flew by. Knowing that this inconsistent period won’t last forever helps me to be more present and faithful to this season right now.

It is significant that the first Sunday I should return to church is the start of Advent, the season of waiting and anticipation, with the first Sunday’s theme centering on hope. The central passage for this Sunday comes from the Old Testament book of Isaiah, where in the midst of their despair from war and domination from neighboring nations, the prophet Isaiah gives them a message of hope about the future. That promise of hope helps them to withstand the suffering of the present moment.

The meaning of Advent is anticipation and waiting. We are waiting and trusting that our God is coming to us and delivering us from our suffering. This hope, belief in God despite all evidence to the contrary, not only helps us to live in the present moment, it actually helps us to live it with more joy, courage, and presence so that when the future does arrive, we are in an even better place to receive it with readiness and gratitude.

I will reflect more on this theme this upcoming Sunday. I am so excited to be back with you, especially during what I see as the most magical season of the Christian calendar.

Much love,
Pastor Lydia