All the Feels – Christmas and emotion…

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

Luke 2:13-14
– Derek Maul lives, writes, (and cries sometimes) in NC

So we had an interesting Sunday. Of course Rebekah and I attended worship – even though we weren’t sure what the morning would look like next door, after Saturday evening’s protracted dramatics (see, The Promise of the Ages… in the ER). Then we spent the afternoon with friends. Finally, we returned to church for the evening Christmas Joy Celebration.

It was all good, all very nourishing spiritually, all redemptive, all healing, all very necessary in terms of this time of transition we are stuck in at the moment.

What caught my attention in particular was the deep emotional response I have had to, well, just about everything. I understand that stress is very much a part of this equation. I also understand that music always gets to my soul. On top of all that it is the Christmas music, loaded with the particular emotions of memory, and yearning for family, and the profound beauty of the simple message that we all need to hear… not just to hear but to accept.

All the Feels:

So I told Rebekah on the way to church: “If you notice me not singing it’s because I don’t think I can, I’m going to cry if I do.” Then I cried, right there in the car.

But I did sing. And I cried too. It turns out a nice big mask is just the thing if you want a little anonymity with your emotion.

There was one particular moment when I was listening, reflectively, and I wondered to myself if the wave of feeling I was experiencing was poignancy – in terms of what we have lost in moving away from the vibrant, passionate community at WFPC, or gratitude because of what we are finding.

The answer is that it was both.

No, I have not yet let go of four decades of leadership, invested beyond completely in and for one particular congregation. Trinity in Pensacola; First in Brandon; WFPC here in Wake Forest. But I am trying on this new way of being in community, and I am meeting God in meaningful ways, and I am at the same time both grateful for the past and hopeful for the future.

But that’s Christmas for you, isn’t it? All the feels; the ones we long for and the ones we are trying to avoid too.

Peace and blessings, light and joy, love and promise this season – DEREK

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