Each day holds a surprise. But only if we expect it can we see, hear, or feel it when it comes. Let’s not be afraid to receive each day’s surprise, whether it comes to us as sorrow or as joy it will open a new place in our hearts, a place where we can welcome new friends and celebrate more fully our shared humanity.

from The Dance of Life by Henri Nouwen (2005)

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Rejoice, Daughter Zion! Shout, Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, Daughter Jerusalem. The Lord has removed your judgment; he has turned away your enemy. The Lord, the king of Israel, is in your midst; you will no longer fear evil. On that day, it will be said to Jerusalem: Don’t fear, Zion. Don’t let your hands fall. The Lord your God is in your midst—a warrior bringing victory. He will create calm with his love; he will rejoice over you with singing.

Zephaniah 3:14-17

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Zephaniah is a short book. There are three chapters, and the first two and a half are all about the wrath of God. Thankfully there is more to Zephaniah. In the first two and a half chapters the people found it safer to hide from God’s wrath than if they gathered together to care for the world; however, it was this desire to stay hidden that God found hurtful.

When faced with bad news, it can be easy to turn away from our community and focus only on ourselves. God reminds us that there is a better way to respond. In the midst of hard times, we should not only come together as the community of God to share our burdens and hopes but also to remember and to celebrate together.

What does that look like? What does it look like to sing together in the face of pain, even if it’s a song of lament? How does letting more people into our lives affect the way we hear the good news that God loves all of us in times of joy and in times of pain?

Becky Caswell-Speight

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God, when the days are hard and things don’t go the way I desire, help me to seek help. Help me to look for others to help carry the load. Help me to not hide but to show others your love, both in times of joy as well as in times of deep sorrow. Amen.

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Go now.

Move from a place of hiding.

Seek kindness and there you will find the face of God in every person you meet.

Becky Caswell-Speight

Becky Caswell-Speight is Minister to Families at Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia, where she lives with her husband Josh and their two girls Ainsley and Evelyn.

Advent Waiting: Wexford Carol – O Come Little Children

David Burroughs

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