Introductory Note:

Many graduates of the Renovaré Institute form tight bonds and continue meeting for prayer and formation after their journey with the Institute has concluded. UK alumna Ali Thomas Steer wrote a beautiful letter recently for her RI friends, and I asked Ali if we could share the letter with you. Her questions have helped to stretch my imagination and deepen my appreciation for the miracle of Christ’s coming this Advent. I hope you will enjoy pondering the mystery of the Incarnation as you wait with expectancy and joy.

Grace Pouch
Content Manager

Hap­py (Litur­gi­cal) New Year! The church cal­en­dar turned over anoth­er year as Advent began and we pre­pare to wel­come the Christ child once again into our hearts and lives. I won­der how that will be for you this year?

I’ve been won­der­ing a lot in recent days about the Christ­mas sto­ry. Did Jesus have to pre­pare him­self in some way to come to earth as a baby? The how is way beyond me, but when did he come? As the Spir­it over­shad­owed Mary? Or some­time lat­er? God was will­ing to become small and one of us. How was it for him dur­ing the preg­nan­cy — just as it was for us, or some­how dif­fer­ent? And was the Trini­tar­i­an dynam­ic altered in some way by Jesus’ human­i­ty, was he cut off” or lim­it­ed some­how? The mys­tery of Christ’s com­ing only grows with my questions.

I can’t help feel­ing that the glo­ri­ous light of God join­ing with human­i­ty in a sin­gle cell would have been too bright for the world. Did the veil of flesh (as the old car­ol goes) reduce the Light to man­age­able pro­por­tions? Will our redeemed bod­ies indeed shine like stars” as those of Moses and Eli­jah did at the Trans­fig­u­ra­tion, reflect­ing that same glo­ri­ous Light that is too much to bear in our cur­rent, fall­en state?

Advent is a time of great hope — for bet­ter things, for trans­for­ma­tion, for new beginnings.

I pray that this year we might be able to see the famil­iar Christ­mas sto­ry with fresh eyes, that we, as his own, will rec­og­nize him, not only in the past, but in the present, in the every­day lives that sur­round us.

In the words of the Taizé refrain:

Wait for the Lord, his day is near,
​Wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.

The Light of the World is com­ing, may you be blessed in this sea­son of wait­ing and cel­e­bra­tion as you make way for the King of Kings.

Art by Scott Erick­son scot​t​er​ick​sonart​.com, from the book Hon­est Advent. Used with the artist’s permission.

Text First Published December 2021 · Last Featured on Renovare.org December 2021

📚 The 2022 – 23 Ren­o­varé Book Club

This year’s nine-month, soul-shap­ing jour­ney fea­tures four books, old and new, prayer­ful­ly curat­ed by Ren­o­varé. Now under­way and there’s still time to join.

View Selections & Learn More >