An Advent Reflection for Tuesday, December 21st by Kelly Perez
Lectionary reading for 12/21/2021: Psalm 113; Genesis 30:1-24; Romans 8:18-30
Selected passage for reflection: Romans 8:18-30
Romans 8:18-23 (NRSV)
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God; 20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; 23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.
Advent is one of my favorite seasons of the church calendar. The dual themes of Joyful anticipation and solemn preparation is a tone that allows me to express the full range of my emotions. The often haunting sounds of O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, allows me the space to breathe in the promise of God-with-Us, and breathe out the pain, fear, anxieties, emotions that come with the season.
In the midst of offering the full range of human emotion to God, I remember that creation is also calling out and groaning in labor pains for restoration. We join with creation in the journey through Advent. We labor together, through joys, pains, dreams, and failures, the mundane and extraordinary moments of life, and the lens of Advent is one that allows us to glimpse God’s presence in it all.
When I did not have the words to express this in my life I found them in the song, “We Labor Unto Glory” (Craig Harris / Isaac Wardell), sung by The Porter’s Gate. The slow pace, repeated glories, draws me into a moment of contemplation, expectation, and longing, that is often what I need and do not take the time to engage in. May this song allow you a moment to engage with Advent this season.
My God, my God, where e'er I go -- Glory
Where I reap and where I sow -- Glory
And my hand it grips the thorn -- Glory
In the still and in the storm -- Glory
Oh, we labor unto glory
Till heaven and earth are one
Oh, we labor unto glory
Until God's kingdom comes
The sun it shines and then goes down -- Glory
Rain, it pours and beats the ground -- Glory
Dust, it blows and ends my days -- Glory
Hearts they burn beneath Your gaze -- Glory
My heart, my hands, they're kingdom bound -- Glory
Where thorns no longer curse the ground -- Glory
Trim the wick, ignite the flame -- Glory
My work, it will not be in vain -- Glory
I would encourage you to listen to “We Labor Unto Glory” by The Porter’s gate and spend some time wondering. I wonder what is your favorite part of the song? I wonder what part of the song was written for you?
May the God who hears, hear your cries, even when you don’t have the words.
May the God of creation, show you a glimpse of glory all around you.
May the God of restoration, bring you into glory until God’s kingdom comes.
About the Author
Kelly Perez is currently living in Vista, CA, trying to not take the sunshine and waves for granted. She loves getting to work with friends, wondering with children, being Tia Kelly, throwing Harry Potter parties, voluntolding family members, creating balloon arches, and laminating everything she can.