Dear Beloved Friends,
I love Advent – the apocalyptic texts and the admonitions to prepare the way. Advent’s urgency and seriousness matches my experience of our lives and our world.
I resist Christmas decorations and music before 12.24 despite my family’s successful protests. Instead I want to linger with signs and portents and the horrors we have seen in the 353 mass documented shootings across our country and daily violence often undocumented against black and brown people in our neighborhoods until my heart’s numbness thaws from the busy-ness and fear that I encase it in and I can begin soften and turn toward God. I want to be still and present long enough to connect with the grief and connection with these my brothers and sisters that may eventually make way for hope, imagination and clear-minded, action.
Walter Brueggemann, an Old Testament scholar and theologian, shares, “...expressions of hope without knowledge of the real conditions of suffering are at best empty optimism. It is precisely those who know the death most painfully who can speak the hope most vigorously.”*
Mary was bold to sing about God. She sang her Magnificat in a police state called Rome. She knew oppression and threat and poverty and violence and yet… she gave birth to hope in the midst of that all.
May we all be blessed with Mary’s courage unparalleled.
Advent and Christmas Blessings,
The Reverend Arrington Chambliss