Sunday, January 28, 2018

An Advent Letter

Someone recently reminded me of the beautiful Advent letter my wife wrote for our family. Although we're now exiting Epiphany, I thought I'd share it anyway. In any case, Lent and Advent echo one other: seasons of both penance and hopeful expectation.


Advent 2017

Dear friends and family,

The rhythm of this winter season is a welcome shift from the rest of the year. It feels like these short, dark days were especially made for reflection, prayer, wonder, and worship. And there is much for which we pray, wonder, and worship as we reflect upon this year.

We thank God for the life of our daughter, Greta Joyce, born August 10. Greta is doted on by an ever-loving, ever-present big sister who always wants to give just one more kiss or “bear hug.” Ruthie is two-and-a-half and currently loves reading, the cooing and gurgling sounds of “baby sis” (that send her into fits of laughter), and the phrase “no, I can’t!” (by which she means “no, I won’t!”). Greta, four months old, is sweet and good-natured. She has a smile that wrinkles her nose and makes her bright blue eyes sparkle. Parenting continues to be a wondrous and challenging experience—teaching us more about ourselves, each other, and about God than we ever imagined we could learn (grace upon grace)!

Mark continues to juggle the responsibilities of teaching and the pursuit of an online MA in Religion. Lord willing, he will be ordained to the diaconate in summer/fall 2018 with another year of classes to follow. The demands of this season have been so great that we don’t often spend time looking ahead to “what’s next.” It’s exciting to begin to talk, dream, and pray more about our next steps. We value your prayers as we continue to entrust ourselves to the Lord for a life in service to His body, the Church.

As we enter this Advent season, I (Andrea) have been reminded of the question in Ecclesiastes, “Is there anything of which it may be said, ‘See, this is new’?” (1:10). At any moment in our lives we can look around us and see things that dishearten, discourage, and frighten. The past year has certainly provided many examples—both locally and across the globe—of the darkness of “this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4). But, this is nothing new. “That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Eccl. 1:9). This is why the angelic proclamations surrounding our Lord’s birth are so earth-shattering and even frightening. They announce something entirely new, something long hoped for: salvation from this present age and the promise of an age to come. The incarnation upends “that which has been.” During these dark days of winter we rejoice that in the child Jesus all things are made new—and for his return we wait, hopeful and expectant, longing for creation to be fully healed, restored, and perfected.

Blessings this Advent,
Andrea and Mark

“And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.’” - Luke 2:10-11

Friday, January 26, 2018

"You're Not Pregnant, Right?"

A newish website called Hour of Our Death: A Memento Mori Initiative published a short remembrance of my grandmother today titled, "You're Not Pregnant Right?"

Hour of Our Death is edited by David Mills, an editor (formerly of First Things and Touchstone), writer, and former professor at Trinity School for Ministry. I've never met David but have appreciated his writing from afar for years, so it's a privilege to be published by him.

The article published today is taken from the larger piece I wrote for The Imaginative Conservative a few years ago, a piece in which I quoted David Mills reflections on his father's death.

Anyway, this is the picture they chose to accompany the piece:

It took me a while to figure out why, but then I got a good laugh.

You can read it here.