the scary, scary beauty of what's right here

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night

And death's dark shadows put to flight.

The somber-edged expectation of advent always jars a bit in the midst of the ostentatious commercial Holiday Season, but the dissonance feels extra jagged this year. I signed up families for Toys for Tots, and more than a few moms were near tears, wondering how they were going to get through the next few everything. Everywhere I turn folks are grieving, sick, and struggling under the weight of addiction, loneliness, fractured relationship, uncertainty, loss, and violence, to say nothing of creeping fascism. The heaviness is palpable and raw.

And that is the world to which Christ comes: Emmanuel, God-with-us in the messy trenches of fear and overwhelming burden. Present in chaos and storm, the manger-babe charts another course toward wholeness, justice, and all things made new. The last are first. The margins honored. Mountains leveled. The poor blessed.

Hoping, we set bruised hearts and tired feet toward everything for which we long so deeply: Streams in the desert. Healing. Safety. Community. Nourishment. Wisdom. Provision. Peace. Forgiveness. Restoration. Rest. Good faith.

And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
they shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

O come, O come, Emmanuel. Steady the knees that give way. 

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