taking the words of Jesus seriously

It’s Advent, which means “the coming.” Around the world, Christians have celebrated this season for over 1600 years. 

Many of us are lighting the candles of our Advent wreaths. With eager expectation, we approach the birth of Jesus, remembering Mary, pregnant with God in her womb. It’s one of the holiest times of the year, and I love that we remember it as a season, not just a day. 

And while it is a time that we celebrate what God has already done through Christ, we also remember that God’s not done yet. If we believe that light shines in darkness, this is an incredible time to be alive.  

The world is pregnant right now with hope and possibility — especially after 2020. We are tired. We are ready for a new year, a new president, a new chapter of the American experiment. And yet one of the other lessons Advent teaches us is that the world revolves around Jesus. 

Before Christ came, the calendar revolved around the birth of Caesar, literally. But Christians made a radical shift, and made Jesus, not Caesar, the center of the universe. That’s why, to this day, the liturgical calendar begins with Advent. And it’s a good reminder to center ourselves around Christ, not Caesar.

I believe that God has been shaping and forming Red Letter Christians for this very moment, for such a time as this. During this tumultuous year, we’ve led powerful conversations to challenge white supremacy, stop the death penalty, dialogue about abortion, and so much more. We’ve also . . . 

—Hosted two Revivals for Revolutionaries during both the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, reaching hundreds of thousands of people with the gospel message of Jesus and justice

—Launched the RLC Artists & Musicians Collective, a growing network of musicians and artists who desire to bring “praise and protest” together to help influence better theology and stronger justice movements

—Joined the 130-mile Walk the Walk pilgrimage for racial justice from Charlottesville, VA to Washington, D.C. to practice and embody solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives

I want to invite you to give like you never have before to support this movement. Maybe that means a one-time, end-of-the-year donation. Maybe it means becoming a monthly Sustainer, giving each month in 2021. But please give what you can. 

As my friend Tony Campolo has been known to say, “The good news is God has provided for Red Letter Christians. The bad news is that the money is in your wallet.” We need you. Not just your money — but also your prayers your readiness to act in the fight against injustice. We need you.

READ: Midwives of a New World

God’s up to something. Some are suggesting that we are on the brink of a national revival, or a new reformation. A third reconstruction, or the next Great Awakening. Whatever you want to call it, I’m convinced that God is about to do a new thing — bringing some fresh fire to a dying church, raising up new life from the compost of Christendom. 

Like Mary, we wait in expectation of the full coming of God’s reign. But this waiting is not just a passive waiting. It is an active waiting. As any expectant mother knows, this waiting involves activity — preparation, exercise, nutrition, self-care, prayer. And birthing new life is not something that just happens to us; it is something that we participate in. We help make it happen. 

Birth is called “labor” for a reason. It involves blood, pain, breathing, pushing, sweat, and tears. There’s that passage in Romans 8 that says the whole creation is “groaning as in the pains of childbirth.” And it goes on to say that we ourselves groan with it.

It does feel like the world is groaning right now. Families devastated by the pandemic. The earth itself ravaged by environmental and economic exploitation. The crowds marching in our streets crying out, “We can’t breathe.”

I think of the words of activist and lawyer Valarie Kaur as she named this present darkness we are in. She raises the question: Is this darkness the tomb — or is this the darkness of the womb? 

In this moment of groaning and pain, I believe a new world is being born. And we get to be the midwives.

Give as you’re able this holiday season. You can also send a check payable to Red Letter Christians to: P.O. Box 7131 St. Davids, PA 19087

What a time to be alive. What a time to be a part of a movement, a revolution, a holy uprising of love in the world.

Thank you for being a part of Red Letter Christians. We look forward to all that God is going to do in 2021. 

About The Author


Shane Claiborne is a best-selling author, renowned activist,
 sought-after speaker, and self-proclaimed “recovering sinner.” Shane writes and speaks around the world about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus, and is the author of several books, 
including "The Irresistible Revolution," "Jesus for President," "Executing Grace," "Beating Guns," and his newest book, "Rethinking Life (released in Feb 2023)." He is the visionary leader of The Simple Way in Philadelphia and co-director of Red Letter Christians. His work has been featured in Fox News, Esquire, SPIN, TIME, the Wall Street Journal, NPR, and CNN.

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