The Advent passages provided to us by this year’s lectionary, at least on their surface, seem to have very little to do with Advent. For two weeks, we’ll be in Mark’s gospel and for two weeks, we’ll be in John’s gospel. Fun fact: guess which two Gospels literally have nothing to say about Jesus’ birth narrative? That’s right. Mark and John. So, why would we read passages from these two Gospels during the season that we are supposed to be preparing our hearts for the birth of Jesus? Why not the stories of Simeon and Anna, Mary and Hannah, Zechariah and Joseph? Why not the stories of angels, Egypt, pregnancy, and dreams? Well, because this year’s texts invite us to look at Advent a little differently. And maybe this year’s lectionary couldn’t have come at a better time for us, a year we when we might need a different lens than most. A year when we’ve struggled to make sense of the world around us, the violence and bigotry taking center stage, and what some days, feels like the end of the world. This year’s Advent texts are “end of the world” texts. They are also “beginning of the world” texts. They are “labor pains” texts. They are texts calling us to “wake up, “keep alert,” and “stay woke.” Because the coming of Christ will happen when we least expect it, in ways we could have never predicted. As, of all things…a baby.