This year has been a difficult one for our country, with deep divisions and high anxiety. In fact, fear and anxiety seem to be the one point on which most Americans seem to be united, although we differ deeply about what most disturbs us. Impeachment is a polarizing subject, and yet it dominates the news and impacts the general mood.

Earlier this month, I encountered a wonderful reminder that “no matter how desperate the moment, time is on the side of hope”. This was part of an excellent column about Advent in, of all places, the Washington Post. I want to share just a bit of Michael Gerson’s column, as well as the link which I invite you to follow and read his entire piece (

Gerson says that “sustaining this type of distressed uncertainty for long periods, I can attest, is like putting arsenic in your saltshaker. It is a self-administered poison. It kills peace, gratitude and contentment. It undermines mental and physical health. And it is deeply at odds with the Advent season.“ He goes on to say that the assurance at the heart of Advent is the antidote to fear, pointing to the response of Mary to the angel’s inexplicable promise that she will bear a son while yet a virgin. “ Let it be unto me according to thy word.”

“Mary, who was obviously familiar with the Hebrew prophets, immediately saw the revolutionary implications of the inexplicable child: “He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their seats and exalted them of low degree. He has filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he has sent away empty.”

“This is the fullest expression of the hope of Advent — that all wrongs will finally be righted, that all the scales will eventually balance and that no one will be exploited or afraid. But this hope is not yet fulfilled. Poets and theologians have strained for ways to describe this sense of anticipation. It is like a seed in the cold earth. Like the first, barely detectable signs of a thaw. Like a child growing in a womb.”

“People who hold such an expectation should not be consumed by worry or driven by insecurity. Because hope is not a cruel joke. Because nothing is impossible with God. Because the seed is planted. Because Advent is a declaration of war upon fear.”

Loving God, You continually tell us to “Be not afraid”. Thank you for your promise to Mary and for the hope that you give us in your Son, Jesus. May the seed of hope that you have planted in us continue to grow stronger each day through this time of great uncertainty. Amen.

Dave Erickson- Pearson

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