Daily Bread Dec. 20

Seeds of Promise
By Emily Rose of Claremont, CA, USA

Agree with God, and be at peace; in this way good will come to you. —Job 22:21 NRSV

When I was a student at Graceland University, I had my first true experience of winter. Growing up in Alabama, I only had one childhood snow day. We were let out of school because the snow stuck to the ground. Our city had absolutely no infrastructure to deal with the icy roads, so they sent us home to avoid putting anyone in danger.

Naturally an Iowa, USA, winter was quite a shock for me! I thought the feeling of being cold would never end and I would be trapped in my dorm forever. My mom even sent me a solar light so I could remember what the sun looked like!

After that brutal winter, I experienced another first—the sweet smell of lilacs in the spring. A fond memory of my English literature class with Barbara Mesle was when she refused to start class until everyone had walked outside and buried their faces in a bundle of lilacs. It seemed a perfect ritual to mark the beginning of spring. Barbara was inviting us to pay attention to the blessings around us, particularly after harsh winter winds and heavy snowfall.

After that first spring I began to notice how lilacs prepare to bloom. I would walk past the barren bushes in winter, snow crunching under my boots, and look closely at their branches. As soon as the first buds appeared, I’d check them every day and whisper to those seeds of promise, “You’re doing great! See you in a few months!” They were my symbols of hope in a cold, seemingly lifeless landscape.

Advent is a call to “Keep awake!” Far different from marking off the days until Christmas on our calendars, Advent is less about waiting and more about holy anticipation. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning until the moment we slip into sleep at night, we are called to pay attention. God is in the whispering and in the unexpected places.

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?

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