Advent's message of hope came home today. Where we see a tree stump marking only a past and no future, God sends forth a shoot and a future beyond our imagination is born. Where we see adversaries and fear in lions, lambs, kids, snakes, etc., God speaks of the idyllic splendor of reconciliation that reorders our whole humanity -- not yet complete but present here on earth every time forgiveness is spoken in Jesus' name/ Where we hear a wild and crazy man telling us the end is near, God speaks of wild grace that sets free men made tame by sin and its death and upsets our tame world with hope. Ahhhh, the wonderful texts of Advent -- in the midst of it all we sing "What Hope an Eden Promised" and then in "Lo, How a Rose Is Blooming" we hit one more powerful image -- a bloom that comes in the midnight of our darkness and pain to blossom with hope and life into our lives wounded and captive by sin and its death... Indeed! Blessed Advent!