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The Hopes and Fears of All the Years, Part Two


[Editor's note: This Advent season, we will be running a series of reflections on the Bread Blog from the San Francisco Theological Seminary. The reading for this post is Luke 2:1-14. Keep reading Bread Blog for more Advent reflections.]  

By Rev. Scott Clark

This Advent, I've been more than a little weepy.  Maybe you have too.
As a community, and as a nation, we have absorbed the blow of the school shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. We have grieved with the families there, and with our own.  We have struggled for words to explain the inexplicable, or to speak comfort in response to the unspeakable. We have railed at our broken culture of violence. We have sat in stunned silence. We have wept. While we have held all of this, the day-to-day challenges of life have still come, steadily, as they do.
It has been a hard December.
And, at the same time, in our community here on campus, this December we have also been expecting the birth of two new members of our community. And we are celebrating as they arrive. And somehow that has made me weepy too.
In the first devotion of our Advent series, I asked the question: What is our hope for the Advent season? But that question for me has shifted now, and what remains is this: What is God's hope for us? In this messed-up world, what is God's hope for us?
And on Christmas Eve, we come again to this story that persists and will not let us go:
There they were, keeping watch in the night. And an angel from God appeared, and light shone in their midst. And the angel said, "Be not afraid. Behold.  I bring you great tidings. Good news. Even joy. For unto you, Christ is born. Not far from here.  And you will find a child. And he. Or she. Will be a sign." And suddenly, there were many - light shining in the darkness - many - singing in one voice: "Glory to God.  And on earth: Peace. For everyone."
Into this messed-up world, into the darkness, Christ keeps on coming unto us - to save us from all that would do us harm. God with us.
And God's hope for us this day? God's hope for all the earth?
Rev. Scott Clark is the associate dean of student life and chaplain at San Francisco Theological Seminary.


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