I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
In our high-speed, instant-everything world, waiting is akin to sin. But especially this Christmas season, we need to learn to wait, to go from rushed to hushed.
Jenny Pruitt and Gina Hurry wanted to slow down and meditate on what Christmas and the coming Christ and Kingdom means. From their shared longing comes InSpero’s offering to the community, “Creation Waits.” Jenny, a singer and songwriter, will debut her original music along with traditional hymns with new arrangements. Gina, an award-winning visual artist, willpaint “live” in response to Jenny’s music.
“We want others to be able to slow down with us and enter this Christmas season with wonder and worship,” says Gina.
“I have been meditating on Psalm 130,” Jenny says. “I think of Mary as she waited for the birth of Jesus. I want to wait with her, to ponder, to rest.” Several of Jenny’s songs are lullabies, such as “Little Boy, My Joy.”
To get to know these artists and preview this show, Gina and Jenny answered a few questions.
Where did the idea for this show originate?
Gina: Jenny's music has stirred my imagination for years. I wanted more people to hear her, especially as we enter Advent.
Neither of us has shared our gifts in this way so we decided to take this step of courage together. It has confirmed my belief in the power of collaboration in creative community.We pray God will stir revival in the Church and beyond through our offering.
Jenny: I thought I had put away my musical gifts when I got married and very quickly had four children. But I couldn’t ‘not do it.’ Songs continued to pour out of me. I continued to be called to lead worship or sing my songs.People kept wanting more. Then Gina challenged me tosing my songs around Advent.
It just “so happens” that I had been meditating on one of my favorite hymns, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus. A new arrangement for this hymn just poured out of me. It was if God was whispering, “I will give you the songs.”And when Gina said she would paint while I sang, how could I say anything but yes?
How did you become a songwriter? An artist?
Jenny: I’ve been singing and playing the piano all my life. After a music degree in college, I went to Nashville where I spent three years writing for Word Music. Even when Itried to shut it down, the words continued to flow. I began writing my prayers as music.
Gina: I too have been creating for as long as I can remember. For me, it comes through visual expression. It’s a God-given intuitive gift and I am thankful I can paint almost every day. Painting quiets my soul in a noisy world—it’s my way of agreeing with God that all shall be well.
What have you been thinking about as you consider Advent season?
Gina: I’ve been slowing down to marvel at the holiness and mystery of the gift of hope as I anticipate the coming Christ and his Kingdom. Advent makes me ponder this broken place we live in, the once-perfect-and-will-be-made-perfect world, and the tension we live in this in-between time.
I'm reminded of Narnia, and how in those stories there is apassageway between the two worlds. What if the Advent season is just such a way of allowing us to reach out and touch the holy if we just slow down and pay attention?
Jenny: “Slow down and pay attention” must be our common theme. I’ve been slowing down which makes melook at my own life in its weaknesses, struggles, and sins and then consider the amazing gift that God gave us in sending Jesus as a baby. It’s led me to worship and write new songs out of the wonder of it all. I’ve also been meditating about the purpose of waiting. All my life—evenall the unsung songs I’ve written—seems to be about waiting. I’ve been humbled to see how God has woven all these songs and Gina and I together—to offer this good gift to our friends and community.
Gina: There are so many lines from Jenny’s songs that resonate with my tired soul, refocus me on God’s majesty,and remind me where my hope comes from.
Come Wait with Us!
“Creation Waits” will be held at Leeds Presbyterian Church on Sunday, December 1, at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:30. A reception follows in the church fellowship hall. This event is sponsored by InSpero, a creative community committed to bringing beauty and hope to the Birmingham area.
Leeds Presbyterian Church is located at 8317 First Avenue with parking available at the church and on the street. There is no admission charge but there is a suggested donation of $8 per person or $30 per family.
Slow down and let the words to this hymn help prepare you for Advent and for our show!
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.