This week I’m sharing a blog by one of my favorite thinkers and writers: my son-in-law, Chris Cox. He serves as a youth minister in Nashville and often stirs my heart and thinking. – Marnie Ferree

Ready for Advent
The calendar gave us an early Thanksgiving this year, and it seems like it has been an eon between turkey and Advent. But I am ready for Advent. I need Advent right now. I need it more than I need Christmas.

Advent might be the most real that the Christian faith gets. It is darkness and defiant hope. It rages against the powerful who pay lip service to God but leave the marginalized out in the cold. Advent is when we stand in the thick of Already and Not Yet-ness of the Reign of God. When we sit alongside those waiting for Immanuel and wait ourselves for when all shall be made right.

We need Advent. We need prophesy and bleak midwinters. We need to stare the midnight in the face and declare that there will be a light. We need hope and God’s Hail Mary gambits. We need the Magnificat bringing the powerful low and carrying home all those on the margins who feel like they have been left out. We need our heroes to be young women full of hope. We need God to come to us in the most vulnerable way imaginable. We need it all to be such a ridiculous scheme that we hold our breath even though we know the story turns out all right.

I look at the world with its mass shootings and its hatred and its vile misogyny and its red-faced leaders trying to puff themselves up with tweets that might snuff out a generation, and I want to hear Isaiah and Jeremiah and John the Baptist rouse a deaf world. I need to hear them because I am not as good as I think I am. I need to hear them pierce my comfortable bubble. I need to hear them because I am frightened of the world my sons are inheriting. I need to hear that all this, too, shall one day be made right.

I am ready for Advent. I am ready to wait for the wonder and beauty of Christmas. I am ready for the hope, peace, joy, and love. I am ready for the struggle. As I write this, it will all finally come with the dawn. I am ready for Advent.

I just hope I have the ears to listen and the heart to follow.

Chris Cox