The Advent calendar we used when our sons were little came with a book. My sons took turns opening the windows of a cardboard Bethlehem where they would find a symbol. That picture or symbol would then be found on a page in their book where a short story explained it. I will always remember their fingers pulling the windows open to discover what was uncovered. The very first window opened to a dark, menacing cloud, sign of the troubled times for the people of Judah long ago.
Like those who longed for help and hope groaned under the darkness of oppression and fear, we come as Advent begins each year with our dark clouds of doubt and anxiety as we again seek hope and light. I love the poetry of Ann Weems. She wrote from a place of loss and vulnerability, with transparency and honesty sharing both her pain and her faith.