Something New

It’s December and suddenly Christmas music is everywhere. Lights have gone up. Letters to Santa are being written. All is merry and bright.

Mark did not get the memo. Advent with Mark is not jolly.

Quite the opposite. It starts with suffering. Jesus has been listing all the suffering his followers are going to experience.

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First Sunday of Advent – Year B

Mark 13:24-37

“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,

13:25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.

13:26 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory.

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Advent Week One

I associate Advent with Christmas anticipation, cozy gatherings, and carving out time (amidst all the errands of “Christmas anticipation”) for some reflection and contemplation on Mary’s radical “yes” to the coming of Emmanuel — to God not only being with her, but within her.

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Look at the Trees

Um, what? Why the downer when I’m getting ready to hang Christmas lights and set out the manger? Even the first candle on the advent wreath is for “hope,” not a concept I generally tie to fear and foreboding.

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Blue(s) Christmas

We don’t listen to Christmas music in my house until after Thanksgiving. On Black Friday morning the prohibition is lifted and Over the Rhine’s “Darling (Christmas is Coming)” is among…

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Born into Chaos

We start Advent not with shepherds and angels and babies meek and mild. Instead we start with apocalyptic warnings. I don’t like it. I prefer the kids in animal and shepherd costumes—the cute Christmas. But we don’t always get what we want. Instead we start Advent with a passage that is full of images of floods, and people disappearing, and thieves.

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Stay Woke!

I hate to wake up. Yes, it beats the alternative, but it is so painful. The mattress, pillow, sheets and comforter offer such warm friendship while the cold, hard, dusty floor promises only pain.

Like a bully smacking his fist, the cold air waits knowing I have to pass by on my way home from school (or in this case to the bathroom).

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Awake For What?

How much and how many can we care about before our hearts grow sleepy? There is so much to be aware of that things can dull to a low hum. It’s a struggle to stay present. Addictions large and small help take the edge off, keeping us drowsy.

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