Issue 210 - Advent: Season of Longing
December 2019
Advent is a season of longing, of sacred dissatisfaction with the way things are. In this issue, Bill reflects on the sacredness of longing, while Jan celebrates Time's Person of the year, Greta Thunberg, for her forceful expression of dissatisfaction.

Giving Thanks for Hunger
I have never forgotten a table grace I heard some 25 years ago. The man leading the group in prayer thanked God “for the food that feeds our hunger, and for the hunger that leads us to eat.” I had never before, and seldom since, heard anyone give thanks for hunger.

Thanking God for our hunger is a prayer particularly appropriate for Advent. Christmas is the season of feasting; Advent is the season of longing. In in an era of instant gratification, where seemingly everything can be delivered to our door with a few mouse clicks, we may have forgotten the value – the sacredness – of longing. Jesus knew: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness” (Mt. 5:6).

Complacency is not a Christian virtue. The ancient prophet prayed that God “would tear open the heavens and come down … so that the nations might tremble at your presence” (Isa. 64:1-2). Every year we sing, “O come, O come, Emmanuel…. Bid envy, strife and quarrels cease; fill the whole world with heaven’s peace.”

Advent is the season of longing, of the sacred longing for the world to be renewed.
Come, Lord Jesus!           
Come like the rising of the sun,
to brighten our sullen hearts.

Come, into our darkest nights
and deepest fears; enter even
the dingiest corners of our souls
to cleanse and make new.

Come where we want you most,
but also appear
where we least expect you.

Wherever there is anger,
come, bringing peace.
Wherever there is pain,
come, bringing healing.
Wherever there is despair,
come, showering hope.

Come, and fulfill our deepest longings.
Come and renew your earth.

Teenage Prophet
Greta Thunberg is named Time Magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year. I learned of this honor only moments after Bill and I prayed the morning’s Lauds in the Liturgy of the Hours: Give glory to God for the mountains and seas…. The Advent liturgical readings address prophecies, many about creation: “In the days to come, the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest mountain and raised above the hills. All nations shall stream toward it….” (Isa 2:1-5) and “Who can ascend the mountain of the Lord? Or who may stand in his holy place? One whose hands are sinless, whose heart is clean, who desires not what is in vain.” (Ps 24)
Greta Thunberg is the prophet we need today to speak out for Earth care. She, at age 16, as an environmental activist, is more knowledgeable – and truthful – about the destruction of the Earth than many politicians and corporate CEOs will admit, even though most scientists will agree. The young Swedish teenager first got noticed only a year ago leading “school climate strikes” and calling for stronger action on global warning outside the Swedish parliament. When interviewed by Time, she was on her way by sailboat to Madrid for the United Nation’s climate conference. Time Magazine writes: “For decades, researchers and activists have struggled to get world leaders to take the climate threat seriously. But this year, an unlikely teenager somehow got the world’s attention.”
Just this week I listened to Here and Now’s broadcast of the tragedy of Iceland’s natural resources demise due to climate warming and ice formations melting. As a former history/ geography teacher, in 2014 there remained only 3 ‘bucket list’ items; one was Iceland. Its unique and awe-inspiring natural phenomena set Earth’s wonders into a whole new framework for me. It absolutely must be an omnipotent deity with divine creativity beyond our imagination and comprehension who did this. How DARE we humans destroy it!
Yet in our own back yard, mining has destroyed grazing land on a ranch where I used to go watch deer grow to “trophy” size. And nearby, Eagle Ford Shale hydraulic fracking flares are noticeable in our adjacent county only 45 miles away – fracking piercing the center, shattering our planet’s inner core, and draining the blood from Earth’s heart.
“Nero fiddled while Rome burned” is not just an historical fact; it is a prophecy for today.
Whoever could predict that a 16-year-old girl would capture the world’s attention?! Like most prophets of old, especially biblical prophets, people ignored the prophet’s warnings. This Advent, we can’t dis the foresight of this 2019 Person of the Year or her Prophecy of the Age.
Dear Friends, in a recent issue we celebrated 10 years and 200 issues of this newsletter. We also shared with you our dreams and plans for expanding Soul Windows Ministries. We are so grateful to you for your feedback, support, encouragement, gratitude, and especially those of you who took the time to write us notes, emails, or cards. We appreciate you so much.
If you missed it, here we are Looking Back, Looking Forward.
Songs of Longing,
Songs of Advent

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Copyright (c) 2019 Soul Windows Ministries
Bill Howden and Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries