Daily Bread December 22

They Cannot See What We See
Danny Belrose of Independence, MO, USA

For I the LORD love justice,
    I hate robbery and wrongdoing;
I will faithfully give them their recompense,
    and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
Their descendants shall be known among the nations,
    and their offspring among the peoples;
all who see them shall acknowledge
    that they are a people whom the LORD has blessed. -Isaiah 61:8-9

Short days stretched long, we sing our Advent songs
and lean toward a starlit stable scene.
Silent and serene. No speaking parts,
a multitude of extras each in place
staring into sacred space wherein the babe lies nestled.
Sleepy sheepless shepherds
wondering at the sight, puzzled, as are we,
that on this star-bright night
a child so small and helpless gives holiness its name.
For they behold a babe in arms, a feeding trough in muted light,
and question why angelic songs celebrate a birth tonight.
Parables and miracles are not within their sight
They cannot see what we see:
the hungry fed, the lame who walk, the lessons taught.
Absent is a crown of thorns, a prayer of tears.
and death upon a tree, an empty tomb, an Easter morn
-these they cannot see.
No king, no savior, no Prince of Peace, no sign of royalty.
Just a babe in swaddling clothes wrapped within a mother’s glow
whose future is unseen, a young bewildered carpenter
unsure of what this means.
Angel voices silent now, a “day-blind star”* unglowing,
tomorrow yawns, morning dawns,
…and the world awakes unknowing.

* “day-blind star” (from “The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry)

Advent Prayer Phrase

“Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).

Advent Spiritual Practice

Breathe deeply and spend a few moments inviting silence to deepen around you. Pay attention to what is forming in you this day as you prayerfully consider the following questions: What awareness or gift begins to emerge in you through the practice of waiting? When do you notice being invited to resist rushing to the next thing and remain present with what may be slowly unfolding? What can you learn from being fully present in the waiting times?

Today’s Prayer for Peace

Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.

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