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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I will remove from you those worried about the appointed feasts. They have been a burden for her, a reproach. Watch what I am about to do to all your oppressors at that time. I will deliver the lame; I will gather the outcast. I will change their shame into praise and fame throughout the earth. At that time, I will bring all of you back, at the time when I gather you. I will give you fame and praise among all the neighboring peoples when I restore your possessions and you can see them— says the Lord.

Zephaniah 3:18-20

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Israel went from being a people condemned to a people saved. God made promises to watch over them and care for them and to punish their enemies. Who wouldn’t want to rejoice at that kind of change? The Israelites promised to care for those in need, and God promised to remove their shame. They promised to redirect their faith, and God promised to restore their sense of self. They promised to live in community, and God promised to bring them fame.

It is much easier to say “I’m going to make honor roll” at the end of a great semester. However, it is a lot harder to say you’re going to make the honor roll right after you’ve failed a few tests. The good news is that Christ promises to be with us in the beginning when we first receive our syllabus and in those hard moments when we are failing.

Just like the promise to Israel, God will help carry us through whatever we may be going through. Rely on God, for just like Israel, God has promised to watch over and care for us.

Becky Caswell-Speight

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Almighty comforter, whether it is the end of the semester tests, struggles with friends, or trouble at home, you are always there for me. Thank you for caring for me and loving me faithfully. 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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