Keeping awake: Christ’s miracles of Love Joy Peace Hope
As I write this the day after Thanksgiving, I am reminded of something Kate Bowler said in a recent podcast. She was talking about Advent, and called it our time of “almost Christmas.” Kate wrote a favorite book of mine — Everything Happens for a Reason (and Other Lies I have Loved) — a memoir of growing up as an evangelical Christian, studying prosperity gospel as a professor at Duke Divinity School, and being diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer as a young adult.
Kate knows that Advent isn’t almost Christmas any more than a young woman diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer is almost dead. Sure, Christmas is coming, and so is Kate’s death and mine and yours and yours. Time passes, season’s change, our deaths are inevitable. But Kate and I and you and you have living to do, and right now we have Advent to observe before we can celebrate the birth of Christ. Advent prepares us for the holiness of welcoming Jesus into that rough manger and into our rough hearts.
These weeks of Love and Joy and Peace and Hope can awaken us to miracles in our lives and to the miracle of our salvation. “Keep awake,” Jesus says at the end of Mark 13, and what better way to keep awake to Christ’s miracles and mysteries than being awake to and part of the sacredness of the next four weeks.
Kate’s podcast is named after her book, but the podcast’s entire title is Everything Happens. The Everything Happens podcast is a gift of optimism and hope, full of love and compassion. And that’s what I’m hoping this Advent will be for me – a gift of optimism, hope, love, and compassion as I keep awake for the miracles of Christ’s coming.
“When we have the Lord to look forward to, we can already experience him in the waiting.” – Henri Nouwen, Bread for the Journey
Alana Suzy Moehring Mallard