As I sit down to write this month’s article, I find myself hesitating...easily distracted...wanting to do anything but write about December. Usually December’s article writes itself—there’s so much to say about Advent, and Christmas, and our youth in the midst of it all. But this December is so very different.
Whenever I remind the youth that Joan’s last Sunday is January 4th, I hear a chorus of “Awwww....” Which I’m guessing pretty much sums up how we all feel. Joan is the only pastor these kids remember having. She has told them countless stories, taught them so many prayers, joyously invited them to participate in and lead worship. She has led them through confirmation, and baptized two of them.
She has always received my ideas for youth programming —many of them tentative and half-baked—with enthu- siasm and delight. When pageant rehearsals have felt like a study in herding wayward cats, Joan’s twinkly-eyed giggle has been a timely reminder of God’s sense of humor. Through the years she has been a steady voice (only occasionally needing words) that there is no need to fret, for grace is already ours. All we need do is say “Yes.”
How wonderful that our youth have been steeped in this sense of grace for as long as they can remember. Could Joan have given them—given us all—a greater gift? Ah, but she’s not gone. Not yet. There is still this month of December before us, this time of Advent, of waiting upon God to break forth in a whole new way. Joan walks with us still, with grace and a giggle. And I am so glad for that.