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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And you will say on that day: “Thank the Lord; call on God’s name; proclaim God’s deeds among the peoples; declare that God’s name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, who has done glorious things; proclaim this throughout all the earth.” Shout and sing for joy, city of Zion, because the holy one of Israel is great among you.

Isaiah 12:4-6

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Recently an image arrived via my computer that I can’t get out of my mind. In the picture I see the look of fear on a mother’s face. I see that she’s dragging her kids to safety. I wonder: what kind of oppression must she have gone through in her home country to travel thousands of miles in the hope of liberation? Whatever it is that brought her on this journey is a pain and a fear that I will never know.

Isaiah’s vision in this chapter is a call for the liberation of Israel from exile. But it’s also a call for each of us. Isaiah’s dream is hopeful and positive despite suffering; it’s not too different from the dream of the mother in the picture, who hopes that God will liberate her and her children. Isaiah says that all throughout the earth shall call on God’s name, that everyone may be free.

May this message from Isaiah ring true for us today. May we do more than read about people being denied liberation. May we be more like the prophet and proclaim God’s call to set others free from oppression.

Becky Caswell-Speight

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Mighty Lord, set me free to love. Set me free to live. Set me free to see people as your children, no matter what land that they were born in. Help me, as one of your children, to continue the liberation of all your people. 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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