Parenthood, disability, ethics, and the crooked way of grace
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Hope is the Hard and Necessary Work of Advent

Practicing Advent hope in the face of hopelessness is the fundamental—sometimes hardest—work God has given us to do. We are tempted to either rush through the disquieting ambivalence of Advent to get to clear-eyed Christmas joy, or dismiss it all as a foolish fairy tale belied by the world’s harsh realities.

On Doing Advent Wrong (or Maybe, Just Right)

Christmas is about the material illuminating the immaterial, about intangible spiritual truths being revealed through tangible physical things. God doesn't reveal the love and grace at the heart of the universe by beaming deep thoughts into our brains....

God with Us, Even When Christmas Stinks

Many things can get in the way of the happy, sparkling Christmas celebrations to which we aspire. The Dollar family has perfected one such thing—the Christmas stomach bug that tears its way through the family, leading to days of extra laundry, interrupted nights, and general nastiness. (Three years in a row, people—2010, 2011, and 2012. [Read More...]

A Busy Advent Doesn’t Make You a Bad Christian

When she was only two days old, my firstborn was the subject of an Advent sermon at our Episcopal church. Our rector, Bill, told about visiting me the day before Leah was born. He recalled the physical cues in our apartment indicating that a beloved baby was expected—the quilt handmade by my mom draped over [Read More...]

Preparing a Way for God to Enter Our Busy Advent World

My Advent posts this year have centered on a single theme—that honoring Advent does not require us to retreat from busy Christmas preparation, that our thing- and task-focused preparations might even be particularly appropriate for a God who came to ...

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