The Advent of Our Hope; showing up for work.

The Nativity, by Julie Vivas


Luke 1:34-36  34Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” 35The angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.

At the end of every yoga class I teach we do a sort of body scan; releasing all the muscles from the bottom of your feet to the top of your head, letting gravity do more work than you, as I like to say. When we get to the hands I say “Loosen your grip on all that is beyond your control. Let go of the work that is not yours to do.” Lately I have wanted to insert — “There is more than enough that is within your control! Let go of the work that isn’t yours to do, so that you can be about all that is yours to do!”.

Please know that whenever I say these things I am absolutely talking to myself. This was seriously my mantra while potty training my daughters. I kept reminding myself; I am potty trained, Rachel, she is not. This is her work to do. She has to figure it out for herself. To my deep frustration, no amount of bribery, guilt, or stink-shaming trained them. It was their work to do. My work was to be their mom and that was plenty enough work, let me tell you.

Are you wondering how in God’s name (ha!) this relates to the Biblical story of Mary, the mother of Jesus? Well, I’ll tell you.  What I love about this story — especially this part of this story — is that Mary asks how it is possible? How is she in any way capable of doing something so huge, impossible, beyond reason, something so… inconceivable?! (HA! again! Ha!) The angel tells her that she isn’t  doing the impossible — God is.  Her job is to be willing – show up and keep showing up – trust God to do God’s work.

Over the past few weeks I have been  o v e r w h e l m e d  with the division, hate speech, violence, and what feels like general disregard for life. I feel like a useless jerk when I consider all the work that needs to be done; the Syrian refugee crisis, the disgraceful water tragedy in Flint, the pipeline “battle” in North Dakota, the overt and covert acts of  hate by people who claim to be Christians, and Oh My Lord, Have Mercy on Us — are we killing ourselves by killing the air we breathe? Lord have mercy.

How am I in any way capable of doing something – anything – so impossible? How do I affect change on anything? It is too big.  Here is what is my work to do — stay present. Keep Showing Up. Do the work that is mine to do. Don’t give up because it is too big. Keep Showing Up – because it is indeed too big to give up hope.  Believe that showing up – with my self-doubt, fears, exhaustion, and heartache – that this little kernel of hope stays alive in the dark soil that is me…waiting.

The Advent of Our Hope.  Advent is a time of waiting in the dark night, for the light of God to sneak through the cracks. Advent is showing up and praying in the darkness, a fierce and prophetic prayer that THIS is not the end of the story.  Advent is about believing God to be God, and not just believing in God. The Advent of Our Hope.

This is the theme of the next Daily Bread Yoga retreat. There will be a lot of yoga, plenty of time for quiet, some community, and always snacks. Know that although the theme is based on the Christian season of Advent, everyone is welcome without exception. If you have never done yoga before or have some health concerns; write me and we can figure out if this is right for you. The cost is $20 to be paid (cash or check) that day. If $20 feels like too much, then by all means still come and pay what you can! Please bring a yoga mat (I always bring a few extra if needed), a blanket, and a bottle of water. And a pen!  Register by emailing me, Rachel, at

Just Show Up.

peace on your head,



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