Unsettling Advent is Coming Back - Word&Way

Unsettling Advent is Coming Back

Jesus wasn’t born in a vacuum. Mary and Joseph welcomed their child into a world marred by violence and war. The bloodthirsty schemes of King Herod forced them to flee to Egypt as refugees. The threats and brutalities of the empire shaped the social environment in which Jesus was raised.

So, why are so many of our Advent practices separated from the concrete realities of our lives or the world around us?

Police stand guard at All Saints’ Anglican Church in Peshawar, Pakistan, during a Christmas Day service in 2021. (Muhammad Sajjad/Associated Press)

Too often we await the Christ child without connecting his life to ours in any meaningful way. This is baffling! After all, if God is coming to be with us, then we should pay attention to the context Jesus entered more than two millennia ago and the world we welcome him to in the present.

Last year, we sought to correct this oversight. We offered a daily email devotional called Unsettling Advent that sought connections between our current circumstances and the social context of Jesus’s birth. More than 20 writers considered Advent in a time of death/COVID, in a time of racial injustices, and in a time of insurrection.

We’re excited to announce the devotional is coming back again this year with new themes. Once again, we’ll be joined by other writers to help us all consider Advent in light of issues from the news this year: the war in Ukraine, the global refugee crisis, and the plague of gun violence.

We invite you to journey through Advent with inspiring writers who will prepare your heart and spirit for the miracle of Christmas. Instead of distracting you from the world, they will encourage you to live more faithfully within it.

You can sign up for the free daily devotionals, which will land in your inbox beginning Sunday, Nov. 27, by visiting advent.wordandway.org and entering your email address. God will draw close to us again. Let’s ready ourselves to welcome the Holy One into this world.

By the way, the first round of Unsettling Advent went so well that Chalice Press invited us to write a Lenten devotional for 2023! You can now buy copies of Unsettling Lent and receive an extra 5% off by using the code LENT23. The savings really kick in when you make a bulk purchase, so order copies for your congregation, small group, Sunday school class, or other gathering today!

Beau Underwood (left) and Brian Kaylor hold freshly-printed Unsettling Lent devotional books. Unsettling Advent, however, will come in an email format.