By Tim Ross of North Branch, MI, USA
Shun youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. —2 Timothy 2:22 NRSV
I love nativity scenes and have several displayed around our home this time of year. One of my favorites sits on a side table next to the sofa. The other day I bumped the table and Joseph fell over. To my dismay, his hand broke off.
At first, I was upset that I had not been more careful. But as I looked at Joseph lying on his face, surrounded by the other nativity pieces and his small, porcelain hand lying next to him, I saw myself.
Many times, I have found myself lying face down, broken. I have felt sometimes as if my life has been shattered and there is little hope. Then I look up, and before me I see the Christ, bringing hope and promise into my life, just as he brought hope and promise into the world on that first Christmas morning. I also see the faces of others who are journeying with me, and I find strength and comfort in that sacred community.
Each of us has been broken at one time or another. Each of us can come to the manger and find the Hope and Promise of the world—waiting for us, calming our fears, and giving us a glimpse of a brighter tomorrow.
During this season of promise and hope, I have found a new message in the nativity.
God, thank you for coming to Earth as a babe in the manger! Thank you for the times in our lives when we fall and feel broken. May we always remember that we can find hope and promise in the face of the Christ Child and in the faces of those who travel this sacred journey with us! Amen.
Advent Prayer Phrase
Anticipation deepens within.
Invitation to Spiritual Practice
Spend a few moments dwelling in God’s presence. Pay attention to where your heart feels drawn into prayer. What words, images, or themes in this story lead you to reflect on your own faith journey? What is God’s invitation to you this day?