Today, Sterling Church celebrates the confirmation of a group of young people who had quite the unusual program to grow through. After all, they should have been confirmed last Spring in the earliest throws of the pandemic – they had already been in their confirmation class for nearly a year! I’m sure they were looking forward to their confirmation Sunday, complete with a full sanctuary of loving spectators and banquet to follow.

But like many things in 2020, that didn’t go to plan.

I am sure that anyone who is reading this could make a “CVS Receipt” worthy list of celebrations that should have been different in the last year. Birthdays, holidays, anniversaries.

Graduations. Weddings. Funerals.

We even celebrate communion in a mostly empty room that aches for the laughter and music that used to fill it.

I know in our family we could absolutely list out the big and small moments that were at best very different and at worst, wholly inadequate.

But I think that one of the most inspiring things to me about this mid-pandemic society is the way that the spirit of celebration found a way to grow. Our lives and loves went on and a deep joy and pride bubbled up inside of us; it flowed over the edge of our quarantine mindset and encouraged us to try new things. To seek out new ways to honor our accomplishments, to worship, and to celebrate the most significant moments in our lives.

Or, sometimes, to wait. And that might be the most inspiring celebration of all.

Because to look around and know that the time isn’t right, that is faith.

To have faith that the right time is coming, that is hope.

To hope, and endure the work of waiting, that is love.

And that is worthy of celebration.

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