by The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin, Rector 

It seemed too much to ask
of one small virgin
that she should stake shame
against the will of God.
All she had to hold to
were those soft, inward
and the remembered sting
of a brief junction- spirit
with flesh.
who would think it
more than a dream wish?
an implausible, laughable

And it seems much
too much to ask me
to be part of the
different thing-
God's shocking, unorthodox,
unheard of Thing
to further heaven's hopes
and summon God's glory.

                       Lucy Shaw (bn. 1928)

The season of Advent exists, in part, to remind us that we are called, as the poet puts it, to "further heaven's hopes and summon God's glory." So, no long reflection or laborious pondering from me this month. Simply some simple questions: In this time of expectation and anticipation, of preparation and leaning into the holy reign of God, for what are we waiting this Advent? How, as this season unfolds and gives birth to Christmas joy, are we-individually and communally-furthering heaven's hopes and summoning, indeed reflecting, God's glory? How will the Child, who even now is growing in Mary's womb and in our hearts, be born anew in us this December? What new beginning, new growth, new life do we hope to see take place in us that will allow us, come Christmas Day, to reflect more fully God's glory?

Advent is a lamentably brief season, overfilled with frenzy and feverish activity. Take time to breathe, to listen, to pause, to prepare, to be still, and always to seek ways in which to be part of God's "shocking, unorthodox, unheard of Thing:" the coming of the Holy One among us.