Living into the Tension of Advent: Rev. Michael S. Chen

In the final episode about what it means to enter the Advent season at such a time as this, Rachael Clinton Chen invites her husband, the Rev. Michael S. Chen, to engage this question together on the podcast. What follows is a tender, vulnerable conversation about what it means that God came to be present with us in an embodied, vulnerable way, how we can enter into a season of expectant waiting, and how “God with us” meets us in our shame.


“As I think about God being with us and God starting to address some of our shame, I think of God being born into a body with a particular face and that for me a sense of hope and dignity for me being born with this particular face in this particular body.” Rev. Michael S. Chen

“In this particular season, there is so much that keeps us from wanting to be in our bodies, to be present not only to ourselves but let alone to each other […] we need to be with each other, both in sorrow and in joy.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“Shame produces longing, this kind of hunger and desire to be met with kindness, to be restored, redeemed, renewed, to be in relationship, proximity, and intimacy again, and I think that’s so much of what this season is about—to feel the thrill of hope, to be reconnected, to be present with loved ones, to be present with God.” Rev. Michael S. Chen

“And yet none of that turning away actually eradicates the longing, none of the brutality of this year eradicates the longing of anything, it only exacerbates it, and I think in some ways that’s also part of the work of preparing the way is to take stock of why we are in such desperate need of a Savior.” Rachael Clinton Chen

“Learning to pause is holy in this season, to be able to acknowledge and name those places where we have felt shame, where we have felt great longing.” Rev. Michael S. Chen

“I invite all of us, as we move into this Christmas week as we try to make space and prepare the way, to remember that God through Jesus, through the Spirit, dwells with us.” Rachael Clinton Chen

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