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

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.

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