Jessica Snell writes about three ways to wait well in Advent: “But what if there was a judge who could mete out justice—punishment and reward alike—with no ugliness and no error? A judge who would hear the cries of the hungry, see the sorrow of the oppressed, and heed the pleas of the downtrodden? And not only heed them, but rectify them? What if there was a judge who could make all things right?”

Anne Pharr describes the compassion fatigue that comes with the end of the semester: “A teacher’s inability to fend off compassion fatigue could be symptomatic of a deeper, more problematic emotional and intellectual frailty. For a Christian faculty member, it may be symptomatic of some sort of spiritual deficiency. But maybe it’s not. Perhaps compassion fatigue for teachers can be attributed, at least in part, to simple numbers.”

Ed Stetzer and Laurie Nichols talk about the #metoo movement: “Just this week, the Star-Telegram conducted an investigation that uncovered at least 412 allegations of sexual misconduct in 187 independent fundamental Baptist churches and other affiliated institutions spanning 40 states and Canada. Another young man told his story to The Hanover Evening Sun in August about his experience being groomed at a Lutheran church he attended as a boy. The Chicago Tribune exposed devastating allegations at Willow Creek Church that sent shock waves through evangelicalism.”

Kim Harms describes the painful way of learning to trust Jesus and the phrase: “a little farther." She writes, “I haven’t slept well for months. Early on because of the fear of the unknowns. More recently because of the physical discomfort that comes with the breast reconstruction process and the anxiousness that comes with not knowing whether or not chemo is in your future.”

Heidi Tai writes about her cross-cultural relationship with her father: “It was a barking ‘101 Dalmatians’ alarm clock, designed by Disney. Was this really for me? When did Dad have time to buy this? Does this mean Dad loves me? I adjusted the hands of the clock and placed it next to my Choir Award invitation. I stared into the Dalmatian’s laughing, reassuring eyes and savored the seconds.”

Annie Crawford describes the work of literary apologetics: “In this way, literary apologetics serves not only the unbeliever but also the believer. A good story will also help Christians recover and renew their love for the Gospel which, in this broken and dying world, is all too easily worn thin. Entropy decays our understanding as well as our bodies; our memories grow dim and our ideas become stale. Even our good intentions are not enough to keep from decay the full meaning of truths we hold dear.”

Rebecca McLaughlin articulates four solid reasons to believe in the miracle of the incarnation: “My daughter was willing to believe that Jesus died for her sins but unwilling to believe that God could send an angel to tell Mary about the Virgin Birth. Forgivable though it is, her disbelief betrays a lack of understanding for what is truly remarkable. How often do we find ourselves making the same mistake? ‘Sure, Jesus can forgive my sins,” we think, “but could he really walk on water?’”

Karen Swallow Prior discusses the virtues of reading in the right way: “Then, over the past several years, something began to shift. Now nearly everyone seems to be reading more—and more widely. I seldom encounter students who have been sheltered from diverse points of view, transgressive ideas, or atheistic arguments. Or even Harry Potter. Between blog posts, Twitter feeds, listicles, and long-winded Facebook rants, everyone seems to be reading something most of the time—right from the palm of their hand. Yet we don’t seem to be better readers. In fact, we seem to be worse.”