A surprising invitation: Advent Devotion

United Methodists gather for a Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve at St. Matthew UMC in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Angelia Sims of Angelia's Photography.
United Methodists gather for a Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve at St. Matthew UMC in Fort Worth, Texas. Photo by Angelia Sims of Angelia's Photography.

A devotion for the fourth week of Advent, December 20-24, 2020.
Read the rest of our 2020 Advent devotions.

Read: Luke 1:46-55

He shows mercy to everyone, from one generation to the next, who honors him as God.
(Luke 1:50)

Advent has sort of creeped up on us this year. While experiencing grief and pain, Advent has arrived. With its arrival come memories of togetherness and love. In this season, perhaps we will not be able to see the loved ones whom we shared these memories with. In the midst of this pandemic, we are finding new ways to be together.

During this COVID19 pandemic-Advent season, our pain and our lives have become more vulnerable them ever. The disproportionate effect that this pandemic has had for minority groups or people who were already poor has become more visible.

It seems that this year, we need this Advent season more than ever.  Personally, I have always though that this season was a season full of love. The type of love that has sustained us this year to keep on and perhaps fueled by grace.

Mary experienced almost that same grace in a time where she felt unseen. Whether you are at home reading this reflection or are having a long day after back-to-back zoom calls, the question this advent season is:

What can we do to share that powerful grace experience God has shown us with those who feel unseen?

This advent season we are called to revisit the meaning of one of the most important seasons in the life of our Christian faith. While doing this work, God’s prevenient grace is awaiting in our hearts. It is waiting in the community around us that we have yet to discover and see. Let us be that agent of grace and love this season.  Let us dare to love others radically as Christ has called us to do.

In this time of silence, let us revisit our traditions and question if they make space for others that do not look like you. Let us revisit the images of our Advent season and see those that are unseen in them. Let this COVID19 Advent season be the new beginning that we so desperately did not realize we needed.

And most importantly after all, let us remember that this ugliness, grief, and pain becomes filled by grace and love and transforms itself into a blooming poinsettia. Whom in the middle of the winter storm it blooms and gives hope and beauty to those around every Advent season.

Prayer:

Lord, we are aching.

We miss our love ones. We miss our traditions. We miss being together.

And during this pain, we have also realized we have failed you. We have failed to see those who feel unseen. We have failed to love those who so desperately need love. We have forgotten to show grace to those around us,

Help us to be more like you, to see the unseen and fill the hungry.

Prepare our hearts so that we can be a Christmas flower who blooms every winter. Amen.

Activity: Research and donate to one (or two!) of your favorite service organizations. Supporting organizations is one way to see those that feel unseen.


*Keren Rodriguez is pastor of Aloha United Methodist Church in Aloha, Oregon. Media contact is Joe Iovino.

This devotion was published on December 18, 2020.