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Joy to the Women

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Ah, Advent! Along with Christmas, Advent is the glorious and only time of year when Christians across the theological spectrum can agree on women's participation in God's work.

In Advent, we do not exclude women from signaling God's presence (Isaiah 7:14). Let the day arrive when the whole Church* welcomes women's ordained service in mediating the Divine!

In Advent, we acknowledge the strong-willed, outsider women who shaped Jesus' lineage (especially Tamar, Rahab and Ruth in Matthew 1:1-5). Let the day quickly come when the Church heeds women's voices speaking prophetically from the margins!

In Advent, we listen to Elizabeth preach the good news of God's coming (Luke 1:41-45). Let this season mark the entrance of gospel-preaching women into the Church's pulpits!

In Advent, we allow Mary to lead us in prayer (Luke 1:46-55), we believe her when she has a vision (Luke 1:26-38), and at Christmas we support her as she gives birth to God (Luke 2:7). Let the day draw near when the Church no longer contests women's power to dream of new and creative life!

Joy to the women this Advent season, and prayers for God's mercy on the Church for its exclusion of women's voices and ministries!

*Church here (capital "C") identifies the entire Christian body, including all branches and denominations and theologies that claim Jesus as the Christ; church (little "c") describes an individual congregation.

HuffPost Religion invites you to share your Advent reflections, experiences, stories and photos with us. Send them to religion@huffingtonpost.com and check out our Advent journal.