12/21/2015 2:55:00 PM

CHICAGO (ELCA) – In her Christmas message, the Rev. Elizabeth A. Eaton, presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), said although the evidence of Christmas is all around, “We are also still in Advent.”

“I want us to consider the deep and holy longing that is a part of this season,” said Eaton. “It is significant that the words of the prophets and the yearning of Israel in exile are so prominent in the lessons appointed for this season. The people longed for the Lord to come, to act, to redeem them, to take them home. They lived in Babylon, but their hearts were not there.

“I think Advent is that way for us. As Lutherans, we do not withdraw from the world but engage it believing that it is a gift,” she said. “But we also know that it is not quite right, that there is brokenness and pain – the pain we experience, the pain others cause, the pain we cause others.”  The bishop described the Advent longing as “an awareness that apart from God we are not whole.” “In the incarnate Christ, God comes to us, finds us and gives our restless hearts rest,” she said.

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