Resilient Hope. (from the Editor/publisher)

Article excerpt

IT IS GENERALLY not a good idea to refer to one's children in sermon or print, but I've concluded that when it comes to grandchildren, such rules are suspended. Rachel goes to Cardinal Bernardin School in Chicago, and as her mother was putting her to bed one night last year during Advent, she asked Rachel if she had learned any new songs at school recently. Rachel sang out of the darkness:

   Stay awake! (clap-clap) Be ready! (clap-clap) The Lord is coming soon.
   Alleluia! Alleluia! (hands waving in the air, like a wide receiver after
   scoring a touchdown) The Lord is coming soon. (clap-clap)

She loves to sing it, and will sing it at the drop of a hat. So with Rachel and her sweet song, it's Advent all year long.

Advent is about hope, based on something God did in human history in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. And Advent is about hope, based on the promise that God will continue to act creatively, lovingly and redemptively in human history, and in our personal histories. Advent and the promise of Christmas come at a moment when the world desperately needs a reason to be hopeful.

Even before September 11, our culture seemed caught in a crisis of hope. Andrew Delbanco in The Real American Dream: A Meditation in Hope argues that "our hopes are a measure of our greatness. …