Advent Devotional: Tuesday, December 19

Artwork by Allison Keenan

Hebrews 1:1‒4

The entryway table in my home holds a photograph of my grandparents with Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter. In the top left corner of my refrigerator you will see a faded polaroid, the kind you shook, of my husband’s grandmother. She sports a pair of dusty Wranglers and an old cowgirl hat while she leans against a rusted 1960s Chevy pick-up.  

While insignificant to our house guests, these two photos hold generations of love, inspiration for the great-grandchildren who ask again for stories, and so . . . much . . . heritage. These fragile photos offer a sacred glimpse into bits of the Jones Mayfield past that continue to craft the future.

The Hebrews passage above reminds us that God spoke to our ancestors in various ways . . . until God spoke to us through a divine child. A child with “the exact imprint of God’s very being.” A child who will come to us in just three days’ time like any other child arrives, through a mother’s painful labor and delivery. And yet, this child is a picture of God.

How many pictures of the Nativity have you seen this holiday season at Target, on Christmas cards, or in your neighbors’ front yards? Like the photographs displayed in my home, I wonder what message we hear and what stories we tell as we look to the arriving child.  

Holy One, we all need an image of the divine in our world today and in our hearts. We need a sacred picture of you that will tell the story of hope and peace, even when life is tough. Inspire us in these next few days of waiting to slow down, to pay attention, and to hear your voice that calls us to wholeness, particularly as it arrives through the coos and screams of a newborn. Amen. 

~ Lauren Jones Mayfield