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This is the Advent that feels like Lent With candles illumining not a wreath But a path lined with crosses As far as the eye can see

This is the Advent that feels like Lent The certainty of Christmas all but lost In the only countdown that seems to matter To that still unknown day When the world can again breathe free

This is the Advent that feels like Lent Unable to gather with loved ones We cower alone in our Upper Rooms Our hope seems all but swallowed by concern, Our peace punctured by anxiety, Our love overshadowed by division, Our joy overwhelmed by sorrow

But when I went outside into this cold and sleepless night I was reminded:

That in the ancient telling of our story God sees no difference Between the darkness of the womb And the darkness of the tomb For each presents yet one more opportunity to speak creation into being

That the angel sent to Mary at the manger in Bethlehem And the angel sent to the disciples graveside near Golgotha Came singing the same tune, "Fear Not," "I am with you"

And that the One who emerges from both Advent and Lent puts flesh and bone On the divine Word that darkness cannot overcome

And the Word is always "Light!"

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