The falling leaves and the afternoon’s fading light mark the approach of another season of Advent. As a community that savors the seasons through storytelling, we are preparing to launch our second annual Advent series, featuring reflections from students, faculty, and staff about everything that this season holds, and everything that it calls us to.
Advent is a time when past, present, and future seem to touch, drawing us into a contemplative dance between where we have been, where we are now, and where we hope to be restored. In that spirit, the focus for this year’s series is Seeking the God Who Is With Us: Remember, Recognize, Reorient.
In that movement of remembering, recognizing, and reorienting, we encounter grief, loneliness, suffering, scarcity, joy, desire, and hope. This is true in our individual lives, and it is true in the world we inhabit, which bears the wounds of violence, shame, and isolation. We see those wounds in the news and in the people we pass on the street, and it seems overwhelming: school shootings, refugee crises, mass incarcerations, droughts and floods, people killed because of the color of their skin.
Where is God in the midst of this? What can the hope of Immanuel—God with us—possibly offer?
We hear the promise of Isaiah 40—“Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain”—but we cannot see the way forward. So we join the prophet in the desert, speechless and desperate in the face of injustice: “What shall I cry?”
Another question: How do you cry? How do you wrestle with the darkness and reach for the not-yet-seen light? How do you protest injustice while reflecting the promise and the hope and the mystery of Advent?
Here is our desire for this series: to come together as a community, near and far, and share our collective cry through stories, reflections, poetry, songs, and visual art. Think of it as a soul feast, a way of gathering at the table to name and invite the costly blessing of this season.
If these words and questions stir something in you, and you would like to participate in this series, please send submissions to Beau Denton, Content Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, by Monday, November 30. We’ll share your reflections and creations in a weekly email series throughout the Advent season (you can sign up for that here), with additional content featured here on the Intersections blog. Together, may we move into a new year through remembering, recognizing, and reorienting toward the God who is with us.