Joy to the Women! An Advent Proclamation

Rachel Hackenberg


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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!

Joy to the Women
Judah and Tamar by Tissot, p.d.
Rahab’s Red Cord by David Hayward, used with permission.
Joy to the Women Advent
Ruth in the fields of Boaz by von Carolsfeld, p.d.

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!

Joy to the Women Advent
The Visitation by Albertinelli, p.d.

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 Advent
Annunciazione by Matthias Stom, p.d.

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.

For more inspiration, we invite you to visit our archived series, The Women of Advent, featuring posts on Tamar, Rahab, BathshebaRuth, and Mary.

The post “Joy to the Women” was originally published on the Huffington Post Blog and is used with permission. 

Rachel Hackenberg

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  • This is inspiring. I’m a cartoonist and have been playing around with an idea for an anthology of one chapter graphic novella retellings of the stories of many of the strong women mentioned in the Bible. I’m thinking of ask other Christian female egalitarian cartoonists to write and draw some of the sections. One thing I hope to accomplish from the project is to expand egalitarian worldview in Christian media and help promote the work of Christian female cartoonists. Please pray for the project.

  • The problem with saying, “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” is that some Christian denominations including Churches of Christ, some Anabaptists, Plymouth Brethern, some conservative Presbyterians and Primitive Baptists do not celebrate Christmas. If there is no Christmas there is no advent. The only lesson from the women in Jesus’ lineage that I have heard taught is that Rahab and Ruth were not Jewish. You are correct that there should be a lesson about women in Advent but for some of us, Advent never arrives.

    • That is so interesting, Joe. I was not aware of that distinction. What is the reasoning behind it?

      • I can’t answer for all of the non-Christmas denominations, but with the Churches of Christ and Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, since Christmas was not observed by the early church (the church as recorded in the NT) it is felt that Christmas is a latter addition and not authorized by scripture. OTOH, Jesus observed Hanukkah and possibly Purim and neither of them was “authorized.” Some progressive CoC congregations now observe Lent and Advent but in conservative congregations everything associated with Christmas and Easter is suspect and beyond the pale. I have sung Silent Night and Joy to the World in church but only in the summertime.

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