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This particular Advent, much like the first one, is fraught with anxieties and tensions, with conflict and the ever-present potential for violence. And yet, for humankind, it is also immersed in questions of trust and faith, and in a fractured longing for assurance that God is indeed present and in labor.

We begin with poetry about Mary whom, I am reminded every Advent, receives little attention from Protestants except at this time of year. How delighted I was to find Josephine’s Advent Poetry:Mary in Barefoot Theology, about the woman who “takes up the light” in the midst of all that we live.

And then we move to the questions of this day, with two posts on reconciliation. In crustybread, Deirdre writes from the United States about A Cosmopolitan Canopy, a term I had not heard before, but which makes complete sense as we seek ways of coming together in safety.

And Kathryn of Good in Parts reminds us that we are all the heirs of conflict played out disastrously on the European continent in the middle of the last century, as she journeys to Berlin with a group from England for Learning Reconciliation.

And finally, in a Reflectionary post which pulls together these many threads of Advent, Martha writes about being On the Wrong Side of Vespers, as she seeking to reach her daughter’s college Christmas Vespers service through crowds of protestors, and about the disappointment of recognizing that faith and a religious service are not always understood as allies of the protests in the streets.

May your Advent be a blessed one as you companion your people in this yearly journey from Bethlehem into the realities of the present.

(Image: Marissa Williams, Washington, D.C.)

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