All of us at
Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry wish you a joyous,
peaceful, and deeply meaningful celebration of this sacred time of the
year. May you experience a new depth in
your relationship with God, those around you, and the natural world. May you also gain greater access to the
numinous depths of your own consciousness, that place of vision, dreams and the
“something more” in life, the place of encounter with the grand Mystery
As we move
closer to the shortest day of the year, all of us at the school pray that you
experience once again an immutable truth: the darkness surrounding us (whether
in our interior life, our family, our job, our heatlh, our faith community, our
society, or our so very troubled world) will eventually yield once again to the
advancing power of light. Regardless of
our religious tradition, this mysterious, holy pattern is woven into the fabric
of the universe and the spiritual realities supporting it.
For many of
us, the Christmas season is a joyful time, wrapped in an assortment of customs
celebrating family, friendship, and the power of love, kindness, and
charity. But, as Christian liturgists
so frequently remind us, during the weeks prior to December 25 our churches are
not in the Christmas season but Advent, a time of waiting (in the deepening
darkness of approaching winter) for the promises of God to become fulfilled,
for the world originally conceived by God to finally emerge in an unambiguous
way. Despite our differences in theology
and culture, so many of our friends from the religious traditions of Judaism,
Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism and others share this dream for the world with
Advent is a liturgical season with as murky an origin as Christmas, (surfacing
in the 4th century along with the first real Christmas on December
25, 336), it may have emerged because early Christians realized gradually that
the Reign of God on earth was not going to happen in a literal fashion any time
soon. At least in the short term, it
appeared God was less interested in coming to earth to slay evil than to build
up a people who are committed to their last breath to model, persuade, educate
and inspire humans to choose a common path more befitting our stature as
children of God. And, oh, how we still
wait and hope …
Seattle University's School
of Theology and Ministry is filled with students, faculty and staff, and
surrounded by a host of friends and supporters who long for justice, mercy, peace and love, and authenticity and
truth. The cloud of witnesses, gathered in and around the school, seek this
better world and pledge themselves to do what they can to make it more of a
time of Advent and Christmas prepare us for another year of both waiting and
struggling to bring about this noble vision.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Dean Mark S. Markuly, Ph.D.
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