Advent Reflections and 2017 Favorites

Advent Reflections and 2017 Favorites


This world is God’s good creation; yet all is not well. We are a broken people. As the year descends into darkness and winter approaches, we feel in our bones the coldness and need of the human family. Evil abounds. Cruelty is policy. Injustice reigns. Racism, greed and sexual violence crowd the news. Hope flickers among dark shadows. We cry to God with Isaiah, “O, that you would tear open the heavens and come down!” (Isa. 64.1).

But in our longing we do not just gaze at the sky. We get ourselves ready. We don’t just wish; we prepare. We trust God is at work in the midst of the mess with a transforming, life-giving power. Like Mary, we say Yes to that power unfolding within and among us. We become the change we want to see in the world. We become people of peace and gentleness, of love and courage. We become candles shining confidently in the darkness.

-Steve Garnaas-Holmes


2017 for the Gemmer family has been a year of living faithfully right where God has placed us: daily ministry at Camp Indianola, piano lessons, church volunteering, honest dinner table conversations, theater tickets, camping trips, mountain hikes, playing at the beach, trick-or-treating, kitchen remodels, buckets of homework. And this Seminary season for me has become an Advent season: a journey of waiting, of trusting, of hoping, of doing preparatory work even though I don’t know exactly what I’m preparing for. There are some hints being slowly revealed. There are confident prayers and there are desperate prayers. There is hope and there is trust, but there is worry around the edges. There are dreams whispered in fear and in faith. There is an expectation of being surprised because so far it seems God likes to work that way with me. So as I sit in the darkness of Advent and light my one small candle, as I marvel at the God of the Universe entering into our darkness with his own Light, as I hug my family tighter and whisper to them the wonder of the miracle in the manger come to show us just how much love God has, I wait with hope.

These words hang on my wall this Christmas season and challenge me anew each time I see them: “a weary world rejoices.” This world feels weary, it hangs heavy with darkness, but Christmas shows us that God is here. God is not afraid of the dark—even the darkest of human hearts. Jesus, the Light of the World, entered into this darkness and by his presence, as a friend recently reminded me, redefined what darkness is, redefined how we are to experience darkness. May we rest in the light of God’s embrace, and may we soak up enough of that light to join Christ in his incarnational work of bringing hope to our weary world, of redefining darkness. Rest, wait, hope, and bring light. It is simple and it is full of mystery.

Sort of like Christmas.

May yours be merry dear friends,

and Darin, Daisy, Dani & Gypsy


Here are some of our favorite memories of 2017:

Marching down the streets of Olympia in January to protest for Women’s rights.


We had an amazing spring break vacation taking our trailer to Southern Oregon and exploring Northern California. We hiked all over the redwood forest,


discovered the Oregon caves National Monument,


biked along the coast,


had a great day on the beach, and made some really wonderful memories together.


Deanna preached on Palm Sunday at our church.


Daisy turned 10!


We had an amazing staff here at Camp Indianola who worked and played hard all summer.


Dani turned 8!


While on our August camping trip we were able to catch the eclipse.


We hiked the skyline loop trail at Mt Rainier with Deanna’s sisters. We were all so impressed by Daisy and Dani on this strenuous trek.


Daisy started the 5th grade and Dani adventured to a new school for 3rd grade in a more challenging program.


It was a dry Halloween and Dani dressed as Laura Ingalls and Daisy as the fierce Tiger Lily.


We are so grateful to God for the adventure of this life together.

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