I believe in the importance of ritual:
During the lighting of the first advent candle at Assembly this Sunday, two women played penny whistle and guitar while two elementary age girls twirled long, blue ribbons with joyful abandon. As the music got more intense and lively, someone lit the first advent candle. This is the joyful celebration my soul needs right now. Jesus is coming. The world is about to change, and this ritual represented that for me.
It was also Messiah sing Sunday, when the church comes together to form an amateur orchestra and choir--nothing fancy, no practice, glorifying God with the glory of Handel's Messiah. It's such a highlight of the Assembly church year for me. And I'm realizing that it's this sense of ritual, knowing what we do when and participating in that that fills me with joy. Making something routine (like lighting an advent candle) into a meaningful moment.