Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | December 16, 2022

Congregation Update: Fear and Advent’s Freedom

Blog|The Rev. Canon Mary Carter Greene

Do Not Be Afraid.

Afraid? Wondering what fear has to do with this beautiful season of Advent… the gorgeous and contemplative waiting time for Christmas? 

. . . an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.”  

Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew offers an angelic epiphany that leads fearful Joseph to reverse his impulse to run from the potential scandal of Mary’s pregnancy and risk, instead, abiding with God’s will.

Admittedly, fear is not an emotion regularly associated with the run-up to Christmas, and yet acknowledging fear’s presence in Joseph’s reconciliation with God’s will, and admitting to fear’s presence in our own lives, invites us to spend a minute with that emotion and consider what it has to tell us. By not running from it but allowing our fear to sidle up with the more often advertised emotions of the season, joy, hope, love, and peace, the message of God’s promise to set us free presents something new, the possibility that no matter the season, no matter the emotion, no matter what we face in life, we need not run, we need only turn to God. 

In this season of waiting and anticipating God’s great gift to us in the baby Jesus, the church acknowledges the breadth of the human experience – the terrible and the wonderful, and your community at Grace Cathedral hopes you’ll join us however you are feeling, whatever your situation, to share in God’s promise that is always being delivered. 

As a favorite Advent hymn invites, “Come thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free; from our sins and fears release us, let us find our rest in thee,” we can find all that we wait for in the peace and presence of God.

“The question, then,” as Joan Chittister wrote, “is not whether God is with us in life; the question is, are we with God who is waiting for us to realize this relationship?”[1]

Come, join your Grace Cathedral family online or in person on Sunday, December 18, the fourth week of Advent, as we realize this relationship with God and await Christ’s coming in the community. After the 11 am service, head down to Gresham Hall for the Advent Sale of beautiful, handcrafted gifts along with savory and sweet treats.

Before we know it, Christmas will be here! Join your Grace Cathedral family for Services:

Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24

Christmas Day, Saturday, December 25

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