« Back to main blog page

Advent Meditations: Saturday, December 8

By Claire Miller Colombo

Psalm 20, 21:1–7, 110: 1–5, 116, 117  •  Isaiah 4:2–6  •  Luke 21:5–19

I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. … They will put some of you to death. … But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life. (Luke 21:16–19)

Jesus, these are cryptic words, indeed. We like to think the world works logically. If our language is wise and irrefutable, why would our adversaries harm us? And if we are put to death, how will our hair survive? And if we are dead, how can we also “win life”?

In her most recent book, Almost Everything, Anne Lamott admits: “I am stockpiling antibiotics for the apocalypse, even as I await the blossoming of paperwhites on the windowsill.” That’s a great paraphrase of how Jesus recommends we view the world as we anticipate the end times.

Or, rather, as we dwell in them: because all times are end times. There is a thing of terror over there, and a thing of beauty over here. Bodies suffer while bulbs bloom. The light shines in the darkness.

A science website for kids explains that light is both particle and wave, but neither one exactly. “In truth,” it concludes, “light is simply what it is – a form of energy that doesn’t neatly match our mental scheme of how things should be.”

As is the light of Christ. How can you live in this new logic today?

Come, O Christ, O light paradoxical. Come and help us hold the dark. Amen.

Dr. Claire Miller Colombo
Director of the Center for Writing and Creative Expression and Lecturer in Theology and the Arts
Seminary of the Southwest

Listen to Claire read her meditation and prayer:


Dr. Claire Miller Colombo, as director of the seminary’s writing center, facilitates the delivery of writing support services for all students and develops writing- and arts-related programming for the entire community. She oversees the publication of Soul by Southwest, the seminary’s literary and arts journal, and hosts Soul in the City, an event series featuring musicians and other artists from the wider Austin community. Dr. Colombo has served on the seminary’s faculty since 2012, teaching in the areas of writing, theology, and aesthetics, and she is co-author with Cynthia Briggs Kittredge of Colossians in the Wisdom Commentary series (Liturgical Press, 2017). Dr. Colombo develops religion curricula for Loyola Press of Chicago and writes literature, language arts, and humanities curricula for several other major publishers. She serves on the editorial team of Theopoetics: A Journal of Theological Imagination, Literature, Embodiment, and Aesthetics.

The Advent Meditations and Prayers are a gift to our seminary community and are made possible through gifts to our Annual Fund. Seminary of the Southwest appreciates the support of its friends, alumni, and the communities around the world that its graduates serve for the glory of God. This support ensures that Southwest, as an institution made of individuals dedicated to service to God and their fellow members of the body of Christ, can continue doing its part to build the body of Christ.


Advent Meditations and Prayers 2014
advent meditations and prayers 2015
Advent Meditations and Prayers 2016
Advent Meditations and Prayers 2017
Advent Meditations and Prayers 2018
Advent Meditations and Prayers 2019
Al Rodriguez
Anthony Baker
Awa Jangha
Christian formation
Claire Colombo
Cynthia Briggs Kittredge
Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski
Dave Scheider
Friday Fun Photo
Gena Minnix
Greg Garrett
Haiti Project
Holy Land
Jane Patterson
John Hines Day
Kathleen Russell
Kellaura Johnson
Micah Jackson
Nathan Jennings
presiding bishop
Scott Bader-Saye
Seminary of the Southwest Dean and President
social justice
Southwest Six
Staying Cool in Austin
Steve Bishop
Steven Bishop
Steven Tomlinson
Tweet of the Day
Twelve Days of Christmas