“There must be always remaining in every man’s life some place for the singing of angels — some place for that which in itself is breathlessly beautiful and by an inherent prerogative, throwing all the rest of life into a new and creative relatedness — something that gathers up in itself all the freshets of experience from drab and commonplace areas of living and glows in one bright light of penetrating beauty and meaning — then passes. The commonplace is shot through with new glory — old burdens become lighter, deep and ancient wounds lose much of their old, old hurting. A crown is placed over our heads that for the rest of our lives we are trying to grow tall enough to wear. Despite all the crassness of life, despite all the hardness of life, despite all of the harsh discords of life, life is saved by the singing of angels.”  —Howard Thurman

Every once in a while we must make space to hear the angel’s song. It is not that the song comes intermittently or without notice: the angels are always singing the song of respite and comfort we sometimes desperately need. But we need to take a moment, in the midst of all our various anxieties, and hear the song. Take a moment and hear the words spoken by the angel to Mary; they are for you as well:

The Lord is with you.

That is what Advent is all about.  Remember in all that is happening to and around you that God wants to do something through you as well.  For the Lord is with you, and nothing is impossible with God (Luke 1:28-37).  Why then do we worry, or fret over things of this world? Why are there times when we feel so alone? “Because life has happened to us, and we cannot deny the various losses that cause us so much pain and anxiety.”  Indeed. But when is the last time you stopped to hear the angel’s song? When have you last taken a moment to allow “new glory” to enter the commonplace? It doesn’t make whatever it is go away, but God’s promise makes life livable. Hold on to that promise. You are not naïve: you are faithful.

I had to remember that this week, as the board and Finance Committee struggled to approve the leanest budget in years. Pledges are down for next year?!? We are 15K behind THIS YEAR?!?  I was stunned. This is a major organizational challenge that requires honesty (and maybe a few “Come to Jesus” moments), integrity, and deep intention. For a young pastor, it is STRESSFUL, period. But while sitting at my desk, I began to hear the faint chords of a song I needed to hear. All I needed to do was turn down the noise of the world around me, and I could hear the angel:

The Lord is with you.

Everything is going to be fine. But before we do anything else, let’s pause to hear the angel’s song. It might save you.

—Pastor Julian