Photo from the Christmas Pageant held on Sunday, Dec. 14. More photos at facebook.com/lifeatctk.Throughout Advent, our family sings the chorus to O Come, O Come, Emmanuel—first in English and then in French—as we light the candles on our Advent wreath. As we do, we can’t help but think of our friend Sophie Badji whenever we sing the French chorus. Actually we don’t think of Sophie so much as the three-year-old version of Sophie that still exists in our memories. That was nearly ten years ago now, when our family worshipped regularly with the Badji family in the living room of their home outside of Dakar, Senegal.
We spent a lot of time in that house-church talking about the stories, songs, symbols, and images of Advent, but none was so memorable as Sophie belting out that particular tune at the top of her lungs. She embraced the hope and expectation of that song as only a three-year-old can: she’d probably be embarrassed by it in her thirteen-year-old persona, as would most teenagers. But still, that memory makes me laugh, and helps me see through all the junk that tags along this time of year—commercialism, cynicism, poorly-remembered nostalgia.
Sophie’s joy was and continues to be pure and contagious.
Come, O Lord our God, and save us from our older, less exuberant selves!
Come, O Lord our God, and restore to us the wonder and power that comes with longing for Emmanuel, God-with-us!
Come, O Lord our God, and remind us that you, the one for whom we wait, have been here all along!
With Advent joy and exuberance,
Originally published in What's Happening (Christ the King's weekly e-newsletter) on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Sign up for weekly e-news.