Advent Devotional: Sunday, December 17

Artwork by Allison Keenan

One of the lectionary readings today is ancient words from Isaiah 61. It compels us to offer love to the oppressed, fortify the broken, and speak freedom to those stuck, with no way out. In the midst of Advent, busyness demands our focus and we rarely look beyond our own microcosm. This challenge pushes us outside our safe, ordered lives to the streets . . . to engage others and share life. It reminds me of a friend’s visit to a tech store. While waiting in queue, he turned to a gentleman and said, “Hello.” The man looked to others nearby, but did not respond. My friend then asked how long he had been waiting. The gentleman finally looked up and said, “You’re NOT talking to me, are you? “Yes,” he replied. The man was obviously shocked and hesitant. “I’m sorry, people, especially a white man, never speak to me. In fact, I’ve lived in Louisville for six years, and you’re the first white man to initiate a conversation.” You see, this man was Arabic. My friend, stunned by his response, compassionately replied, “I’m sorry for the silence and the disrespect you may have felt.” The conversation continued and later, my friend extended an invitation to lunch. The two shared bread and life. A simple greeting, and heaven came to earth. When the voiceless are heard . . . and the invisible embraced . . . surely, our Divine Mother smiles! Peace comes to Earth and good will to ALL . . . one at a time!

Eternal Light, in this Advent season, may we be aware of people nearby. May we welcome ALL to the table with outstretched arms, to include not exclude, to embrace not push away, for as we do, we are welcoming you! Amen.

~ Marc Dowell