SOLACE: Soul + Grief

From Mourning to Hope: Navigating Advent in Grief

December 08, 2023 Candee Lucas Season 2 Episode 51
SOLACE: Soul + Grief
From Mourning to Hope: Navigating Advent in Grief
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Advent is a time marked by anticipation and hope, but for those in the grip of grief, it can be a season of sorrow. So, allow yourself the space to grieve, to lament, and trust in the healing presence of God. In this season of waiting and anticipation, let's find hope in the promise of restoration God offers.

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Our theme music is:  Gentle Breeze by Yeti Music from the album "Uppbeat".
Additional Music and sound effects today by:   via Pixabay

Candee:

Welcome to Solace: Soul + Grief. We are brought to you by Catholic Cemeteries in the Diocese of San Jose. My name is Candee Lucas. We know the death of a loved one is a huge life transition and we've learned it creates and affects so many other losses in our lives. We at Catholic Cemeteries wanted to offer you this place to grieve and find where God is moving in your life as you grieve. Each week we take a new scripture or reflection and seek to find a quiet place in our hearts, together to contemplate our losses, honor our loved ones and remember God's place in our hearts. We seek to make a continuing connection with those we've lost. We want to find that space where God is moving with us in our grief, where mourning can be transformed to comfort, where our hearts might be reopened and begin to mend, where tears can flow, for it's when we open our hearts we realize that we've made new space for more love, more compassion and more humanity in our lives, and more space for God as well. This is a space we hope Solace will begin to fill for you. Please join us. If you're suffering or just want to spend more time having God move with you in your grief. You are always welcome in our circle of healing, love and support.

Candee:

While Advent is traditionally a time for looking forward in anticipation, those of us on a grief journey may not always feel in sync with the season. And yet both are a season of waiting, when for the realization of Jesus Christ, and the other for the path of grief to widen and lessen and brighten. But Advent is not only about waiting. It is also a season defined by hope. So we do not lose heart. The Apostle Paul writes where this light, momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory. Beyond all comparison, our afflictions may not feel light, not momentary. It seems like strong language, shocking even, to be told that our present sorrows are but momentary afflictions of devastating loss, the complex sufferings and consequences of suffering in our lives death, illness, a global pandemic, wars. Light and momentary, for of course it doesn't feel that way here. In the midst of it it feels like grief, and that grief sometimes may even feel like kind of an exile. But we have hope. We need to look beyond the immediate circumstances of our lives. We need to cultivate not only temporal bandwidth but also eternal bandwidth, the spiritual bandwidth.

Candee:

Not one of the verses of 'O come, o come, Emmanuel' ends with those lines about exile and mourning, grief and death. The haunting melody of the hymn expresses something of that sorrow and longing, but each is followed by this joyful refrain full of hope for the eternal reunion that awaits-- 'Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. So come to thee. O Israel" christ has come, the child whom Mary bore, whose death she witnessed, and he will be realized again. That is the hope that defines this season, that sustains us even in the middle of all grief, sadness and uncertainty. This Advent, may our grief, at what this year has brought, be complicated by joy, by love, by peace and, above all, by hope in the Emmanuel. Christ is with us and he shall be realized. Make space to bring experiences of pain, loss and brokenheartedness to God. Come alongside those in your faith community who need to voice complaint, anger, grief and despair and prayer. Hold on to hope alongside those who are barely holding it together.

Candee:

For many of us, making it through December is a daily struggle of personal grief. We remember those people who are lost to us. We walk in frustration at the realization of what we thought we would have overcome by now, or feel exhausted by challenging circumstances. We may think we are alone in our sadness and may be reluctant to come to worship because we simply cannot manufacture enough reliable happiness to make it through that hour of joy. We need to weep, but we feel conspicuously sad when surrounded by everyone else's brightness. So the stark contrast makes our depression go deeper. Or maybe your life is perfectly shiny in the no more tear zone.

Candee:

Consider lament, then, as an opportunity for spiritual accompaniment. We lament as a way of being with others and as a means of hospitality, a way of weaving ancient spirituality into modern living. That ancient antiphon we sing as-- 'O come, o come, Emmanuel'-- pleads for the bright and morning star to turn our darkness into light. This is a voice of hope. The Psalms of Lament show us an ancient way of praying, a way to express all our emotions before God and to bear one another's burdens. How does this work? The Psalmist speaks complaint to God, gives sorrow to God, asks God for help and pledges to trust God based upon what God has already done. When we include lament in Advent worship, we are giving space for sharing emotions, calling upon God for help and placing our hope solidly upon the rock of our salvation.

Candee:

The theologian Walter Brueggemann frames a healthy lament process as moving from orientation, through disorientation, into reorientation. The Advent elections for Sundays of Advent contain bookends of lament passages, helping us frame our disorientation with scripture. To you, o Lord, I lift up my soul. Oh my God, in you I trust. Do not let me be put to shame. Do not let my enemies exalt over me. Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame. Psalm 25 is read on the first Sunday in Advent. Moving into reorientation, hear the hope of a fresh start in Psalm 80 for the fourth Advent Sunday.--' Restore us, o God. Let your face shine that we may be saved.'

Candee:

God's spirit works in us and through us to breathe prayers of lament for life, situations of grief and despair. In these laments we pray on behalf of the bereaved, the hungry, oppressed, humiliated, war-torn, refugees, homeless, abused, poor, lonely and betrayed. We, the created ones, bring the groaning of creation to Creator God, in whose image we are made. Lament carries the freight of protesting the situations in life and leads into hope. The Advent season gives us time to breathe these prayers, to have difficult conversations and to inwardly digest the difficult passages of scripture. The hopes and fears of all the years are met Emmanue l. God is with us, amen. This has been another episode of Soul + Grief. I am Candee Lucas, Aftercare Coordinator for Catholic Cemeteries, Chaplain and Spiritual Director. You can reach us at the email or phone number in the show notes. We welcome suggestions for future episodes or reach out to us for one-on-one spiritual direction, individually or as a family, as you travel through grief. Stay safe, be gentle with yourselves and travel with God. Va ya con Dios.

Grief, Hope, and Healing in Advent
Lament and Hope in Advent Season