Dear SCAPC Community,

During the coming Advent weeks, at the beginning of worship, we will light the Advent candle, and sing this Taize’ chant as a response: ‘Prepare the Way of the Lord. Prepare the way of the Lord, and all people will see the salvation of our God.’ The approach to Christmas may not be easy for everyone, but we think we know what we are getting. Gatherings with family, finding the right gift for Uncle Barry, and making sure political views stay in their lane. Or maybe your approach to Christmas isn’t even that successful. Maybe it feels more like these less bawdy verses from Robert Earl Keen’s ‘Merry Christmas from the Family’:

Fred and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can't remember how I'm kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motor home in
They blew our Christmas lights

Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited out on our front lawn
He threw the breaker and the lights came on
And we sang "Silent Night, oh Silent Night"

The messiness and disruptive nature of Advent should be more like this song than all our holiday attempts to perfectly deck the halls with boughs of holly and like it or not, the coming of God into our world and into our lives, theologian George Hunsinger reminds us, is a ‘disruptive grace’ that undoes everything then puts it all back together more beautifully, justly, and faithfully. Advent unsettles us as much as it comforts us. Advent disrupts us, interrupts us, and undoes us even as it transforms us.

So my rather strange Advent wish for you is this: may all your Christmas plans and dreams NOT go as planned. And in the midst of the holiday disruption and disarray, may Christ show up, rearrange your lives once again, and bring you into the presence of a newborn king who surpasses all that you asked for or imagined.

Advent blessings,