They remind us of Mark's tumultuous world and that "the message of Mark's gospel is thus a message of hope proclaimed in the midst of catastrophe. To really heart it, we have to listen from a position of desolation, chaos, and bewilderment; we have to listen alongside the traumatized soldier, the displace refugee, the pregnant teenager, the heartbroken addict. This is where Mark lives; these are the depths from which he proclaims his good news." Yes, yes, yes.
I also liked this:
"As we enter the season of Advent, this may be the perfect time to name what Advent is all about: entering the shadows of despair, war, sorrow, and hate, actively waiting for Jesus to come, lighting candles of hope, peace, joy, and love. Once we have entered the shadows (both intellectually and emotionally), from there we can proclaim the good news, the hope that rings out when all hope seems lost."