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Togetherness by Jim Loduha

This Advent season my mind keeps coming back to the notion of togetherness. It’s a season in the church that reminds us that God is with us, together with us at all times in our lives and in history. Yet, this year seems particularly not “together.”

Our politics increasingly alienate and drive wedges between people. Immigrant and foster families are torn apart by systems with little regard for the wellbeing of those families. And fear of the future has left many feeling isolated and abandoned.

Perhaps, though, the season of Advent is not about the cozy and warm feelings we often associate with being together among loved ones and of being part of a welcoming, uplifting and supportive community. Perhaps, as a Jesuit priest named Alfred Delp once wrote, “the season of Advent is about being genuinely shaken up.”

“Maybe,” he wrote, “the message of Advent is so that when we come face-to-face with God, the world will shake.”

I think he is right. And I think the world around us is shaking in order to awaken with a new reality.

If we want to transform like again, if Advent is truly to come again – the Advent of home and of hearts, the Advent of the people and the nations, a coming of the Lord in all this – then the great Advent question for us is whether we come out of these convulsions with this determination: yes, arise! It is time to awaken from sleep. It is time for a waking up to begin somewhere. It is time to put things back where God the Lord put them. It is time for each of us to go to work, with the same unshakable sureness that the Lord will come, to set out life in God’s order wherever we can.”

And we will do it together.

Jim Loduha is the Senior Director of Development and Giving at All Saints Church in Pasadena.