I SEE MORE now when I pay attention, which I often do not, and I am more overwhelmed by beauty that I now realize has nothing to do with me at all—except as it brings me half-understood messages of God’s goodness and love. Two sights from my adult past I remember now. The first is a huge oak tree outside my floor-to-ceiling window before my daughter was born. It was covered with dark red leaves of such an intensity that their red color and shapes reflected off the white walls of the apartment where I lived. It was truly astonishing and it hardly seemed possible, but there it was. Through that tree I received an obscure message of hope and beauty at a place in my life that seemed so hopeless I was not sure I could survive it.
—Roberta C. Bondi, Wild Things: Poems of Grief and Love, Loss and Gratitude (Upper Room Books, 2014)
What might God want you to notice today as a message of hope? Share your thoughts.
“Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.”
—Psalm 33:22 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Creator God, As you draw us closer to you, draw us closer to each other. Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Who came up with the idea of using nativity scenes to celebrate Christmas? Many might be surprised to learn that Francis of Assisi, the well-known thirteenth-century saint, is credited with creating the first nativity scene. The Living Nativity: Preparing for Christmas with Saint Francis introduces readers to Saint Francis and his joyous reenactment of the birth of Jesus, complete with a manger and animals. Discover more.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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