category: Advent


What a year!

It was a year of confusion, pain, isolation, despair, and disorientation. All of life wobbled and the primary objective was sheer survival and protection. While these words may sound like my reflection on calendar year 2020, they are not. Rather, I am recounting the complexities of the world into which Jesus was born.

The sloppy theology and hymnology of the church bequeathed us a rather sanitized version of the whole episode. Our hearts warm at the sweet stories of his birth that we read at Christmas, but remember, there is so much more to the story. Lest we forget, remember that cruel and capricious Herod was slaughtering babies and looking for more. This was no time of serenity and peace, the cattle were not lowing and the baby was awake. Jesus’ birth was not in a bubble of isolation; he was born into the same messy, violent, and dangerous world into which all babies are born. Incarnation demands no less.

As we process all of that this season, our prayer is that the reflections contained in this book will reconnect all of us to the original story and find in it the commonality of our own experience with Jesus. That story infuses us with the hope and peace we all so desperately need.

This season is beautifully reflective of the spirit of collaboration and that very spirit undergirds this work. Were it not for generous spirits of colleagues Dr. Jim McConnell, Dr. Cal Robertson, and Mrs. Lisa Hollifield, this work would not exist. In addition, a debt of gratitude is offered to each contributor for the fine words contained in these meditations.

The creative services team was most helpful and efficient in the production. Thanks are especially due to Mary Rose for her professionalism and patience. Dr. Downs and the administration continue to support this gift and for that, we are grateful.

Our hope is that this book of holy reflections will stir in all of us a spirit of hope, peace, love, and joy. That is our prayer for all.

Grace and peace!

Danny M. West, School of Divinity

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