This Advent we are utilizing Sanctified Art’s (www.santifiedart.org) new Advent series called Generation to Generation. I love Sanctified Art’s resources and their work has been a staple for our church during the pandemic. This particular theme, however, truly speaks to my heart. Basically, it acknowledges that our sacred story is passed on from generation to generation. Each generation plays a vital role in God’s vision for all of creation. We each have a part in this journey, in this passing of the promise to the next generations.
For me, it also highlights the beautiful multi-generational aspect of being church. Our world has increasingly siloed us into “age-specific” units…kids hang with kids, young adults with young adults, elderly people with other elderly people. Most of our schools divide children into ages that range a mere 12 months. Our family units, especially in the white middle and upper middle classes, have been reduced to the nuclear family of parents and children. There are very few places in our world where multiple generations co-exist in true community in our society.
But the church, in its best form, inherently calls all generations together. Infants, toddlers, teenagers, octogenarians…all of us are brought together in community. Sometimes we separate out by age, but ultimately, we are building community together. In the church, we get to mark births, deaths, and all the important stages in-between. In the church, we watch squirrelly toddlers grow into pensive teens. We get to see our young people launch into early adulthood. We stand witness to the transitions of aging, with its wisdom and its struggles. We gather when one of our beloveds grow ill, and we celebrate the transition to the next realm. We don’t do any of this perfectly. We do it perfectly imperfect. But when we lean into the beauty of the multi-generational community, we are transformed and made whole.
Advent is a season that calls us to remember that Jesus was born into this world as a tiny, vulnerable baby. Power and violence took away most of his adulthood, but while he walked among us, he gathered all generations to himself. He healed the elderly and he blessed the children. Our kids are bundles of energy and excitement during this time of year…and it is a sacred, powerful, transformative thing to witness! Pay attention to the gifts of all the generations during this season of preparing and anticipating.