In these final days of Advent, many of us are frantically finishing holiday preparations—not so much lingering in the light of the Advent hope “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” as rushing headlong toward Christmas and “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.”
This hectic pace has become such a routine part of life. And yet, I wonder how much of our busyness distracts us from the quiet presence of lingering in the promise that Christ meets us in the midst of the messiness, traumas, and heartaches of these days.
We can’t go back to simpler times. We can’t sidestep the loneliness of grief. We can’t ignore how the pandemic years changed us, our relationships, our congregations, and our world.
It’s a good thing that Christ is coming.
This season invites us to ponder impossibly good news: that in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, God meets us exactly where we are, in the midst of the mess and this frail ecosystem of life.
The wonder of this promise gives us hope. Mary gives voice to this sense of awe in Luke’s gospel when she sings, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowly state of his servant.”
The Christmas story reminds us that God is always doing a new thing, and it starts here, in our “lowly state.” Not in a past we may recall through rose-colored glasses, or in a future when we will be better prepared. Here. Now. With us.
This is the hope that fuels our work at Luther Seminary to meet the evolving needs of the church and Christian leaders. It is an invitation to embrace the challenges of ministry and discipleship in a changing world with courage and trust; to imagine new ways to use the seminary’s gifts to meet this moment in time.
Thanks be to God that we don’t do this work alone.
May the light of hope shine brightly for you this season as we await the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Peace and grace,
Robin J. Steinke, President