The curtains on the small stage are tightly closed, the floor swept clean and chairs stacked away. The children aren’t down the hall, the costumes hang untouched in darkness.

Photo Credit: Nancy Collins

The music hasn’t moved, the folders haven’t opened, the pianos haven’t pounded out a difficult arrangement as volunteers peered at notes on a page, wondering how they could ever learn this.

No matter what we do a fine dust sifts through the stained glass light and settles on the carpets, the pews, the dust covers on our altars.

We meet via screens and we talk and we try to plan for the what we can’t know.

We’re open now, Lord, open to every formerly strange idea. Open to every way that we can can make every person know the magic of this season in what is a decidedly not magical time.

Guide us Lord as we plan. Inspire and illuminate, give us wisdom and compassion as we face this strange holiday season; mostly alone; mostly sad; mostly longing for what was.

Lord, if I had only known that the last time was the last time. Lord, I dream of donning my robes and laying on the thick carpet in the chancel while the choir sings around me and the organ rattles my teeth and your people sing your praise. Lord, we want so badly to go home. Surely you know what we mean.

Envelop us. Show us your magic, send us a spark to light the Advent flames, we shake our empty matchboxes, we see now that you were always our only hope.

Strengthen and uphold us, make us agents of your message and your peace.


Alicia Hager resides in West Michigan and is a Postulant to the Sacred Order of Priests in the Episcopal Church. Alicia enjoys spending time with her daughters and her husband, is bonkers about her cats, and blogs at

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