Daily Bread December 18

Welcome Gifts
Emma Gray Pitt of Bayonne, NJ, 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.
I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up,
so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. -Isaiah 61:8-11

To keep myself oriented in this year of uncertainty, anxiety, anger, grief, and-yes, still-joy, it has helped me to rest and acknowledge the gifts that have arrived at my doorstep.

First, I have been given the gift of time. With my job transitioning to remote work, I got nearly two hours in commuting time back every weekday. That allowed me the opportunity to leisurely cook a meal, to go on longer walks with my dog, and to read more chapters of the book on my nightstand.

I have been given the gift of education. Others have pointed me to books and articles that retell the history of my nation and illuminate the nuance of the simplified story I thought I knew. I am immensely grateful to those who offer their personal stories, as they inspire me to know more and do more.

Most recently, I have been given the gift of empathy. As of the time of writing this, I have just been laid off from my job. Yesterday, I visited the unemployment section of my state’s website for the first time and realized how wordy and confusing it all is. I hope that the time I might utilize these services will be short, but my eyes and heart have been opened wider to the overwhelmingness of it all.

And I can’t forget to notice the gift of joy as well. I have sat at the beach under the warm sun with a perfectly cool breeze. I have laughed with friends and family in person and over the internet. I have even sprinted down the steps of my apartment to catch the ice cream truck that comes down our street every evening!

These gifts aren’t wrapped up in the best paper with the finest ribbons. They are unassuming-like small cardboard packages resting against my front door. What could it be this time? What gift are you receiving today? Open it!

Prayer Phrase

“Trust what is being born.”

Spiritual Practice

Jesus, the Peaceful One

We have spent this year with a guiding question: Are we moving closer to Jesus, the Peaceful One? As we near the end of this calendar year, we review how this question has been shaping and forming us. In our thoughts, words, and actions, have we been embodying Jesus, the Peaceful One? What might it look like to move closer to Jesus, the Peaceful One as we make space in our lives for Christ incarnate this Advent season?

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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