Holding the Tension of Grief, Gratitude, and Grace

Though we are just now emerging from the season of Thanksgiving, tomorrow marks the first Sunday in Advent. We hold much gratitude, grief, and tension as we approach this Christmas season not only because of the anticipated flurry of gift-purchasing and gift-giving but the coming of Jesus and the “tense, complex, wild narrative” of the Christmas story itself. Listen as Dan and Rachael enter into these topics with grace and guidance as we move into this wholly unpredictable holiday season.


“Gratitude to me feels like the expression that comes when we have encountered grace. When there is a sense my heart is saying thank you.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“Gratitude comes from grace, but grace is just so disruptive, creates such tension.” Dr. Dan Allender

“Any good gift that is worthy of gratitude, if we’re paying attention, if we’re connected to each other, often highlights disparity as well. And we know that good gifts are meant to be given back in ways that expand the blessing so I think that’s one of the ways that the tension grows, it’s not feeling guilty that there is a sense of thank you, but it is a sense of how is my thank you meant to be exponential.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“That tension of receiving and the knowing…it’s so underserved and in that to be beloved is to enter one of the greatest tensions of the narrative of God’s arrival in the presence of the body in the person of Jesus Christ.” Dr. Dan Allender

“Can we let ourselves bear that God was with us and to think about what that means knowing that the not yet is also with us?” Rachael Clinton Chen

“When you hold gratitude the reality of loss is much closer, the reality of tension is much deeper, and therefore the complexity of we can’t escape the already and not yet.” Dr. Dan Allender