Week 1 of Advent | Dane Anthony

Monday, December 3

Psalms 1, 2, 3, 4, 7
Isaiah 1.10-20
Luke 20.1-8
1 Thessalonians 1.1-10

As I look forward toward this Advent season, I am reminded again that inherent in my longing for the world—for my friends and family,
and for my own soul—is the hope that this Advent, this God with us, will make things right. In this hope, I hear the ancient words of Julian
of Norwich as she pleads; “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.” I want this to be true more than I
may at times be aware.

The cries from the Psalms ring with this plea for things to be made right; for justice to prevail so that, in the hopeful words of Psalm
4, “In peace I will lie down and sleep” may truly and finally be true. For which of us does not want “joy to the world, and peace on
earth; good will toward men” (and women, boys and girls, and all living things)?

These days are anything but peaceful. As I write this in early fall, the outcome of the contentious election is yet undetermined, troops are
still in conflict in Afghanistan, the Middle East has erupted again in bloodshed, famine continues to wreak havoc on the innocent of
Sudan, and the daily violence of neglect, poverty and abuse thrive in every corner of our communities.

We need, I believe, to know that hope is possible. The promise of God with us provides not only the desired hope for the world; that
“all shall be well” ultimately, but that we may be well right now, even in the midst of the sadness and loneliness and hurt.

My strong sense is that God is with us to join in the suffering— ours and the world’s—not to help us avoid it? I desire the reality
of the world and my own life to inform and transform my hope for peacefulness as more than solely the absence of suffering. For how
do I truly know hope without loss, joy without sadness, or beauty without pain? I do not believe I can.

This Advent promise of God with us reminds us again, that we are far from alone in this deep longing ache. May this promise bring to
light for each of us, joy in the sadness, beauty in the pain, and hope in the loss that all manner of things shall be well.

Dane Anthony
Adjunct Professor, School of Religion

To download a digital copy of the 2012 Advent Guide, put out by Belmont’s School of Religion, click here.

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