Recounting Hope (Week 1): An Advent Practice

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. – Luke 2:4-7 (NIV)


Jesus’ entry into the world isn’t the stuff that usually feeds and fuels extraordinary hope. Joseph and Mary, traveling on the road, give birth in a town of strangers. There is no room, and so they make do with what they have available to them.

It’s the sort of scrappy, pulled together scene that I resonate with these days. Tossed about and feeling rather unprepared for what each day brings, I feel like I’m always one day late in making my room reservation, so I’m making do with what is leftover.

And yet, in that moment, in the miracle that comes in the form of Jesus’ entry into the world, comes the spark that feeds hope.

Jesus doesn’t crash in, requiring a lot of prep or a grand ceremony. Jesus shows up, in his time. My hope and prayer this year is that I would have the grace to recognize the unusual ways that Jesus is showing up in the midst of partially prepared guest rooms and in the midst of interrupted travel and awkward family reunions. God, help us to recognize the ways you show up, in the most unassuming and unexpected places.


God, you who humbled yourself to make yourself known to us,
In the form of a vulnerable baby.
You are the God who drew near to us,
To reveal yourself.
Grant us the grace, to recognize you,
To see you in mess of the bedroom that’s not quite ready for its guest.
Help us to see you, in the overflow places, and in the spaces where we tuck the things we don’t have space for.
Jesus, help us to recognize your presence in places that seem normal, boring.
And feed our HOPE and our expectation of you,
That we might come to expect you in the small places,
That we might hope to see you in the lonely places,
That we might be sensitive enough to recognize your presence.


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