Fourth Week of Advent
I live in an apartment that’s been under construction for over a year. Nearly every day, men in hard hats with loud tools work directly outside my windows. Pre-pandemic, this was fine, but now that I work from home, my hours are filled with sights and sounds of a project that has no end. It’s a taxing situation that feels impossible to escape, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t tried.
My wife and I ventured out a few times. We felt rain on our arms as we stood with masks and made friends with hermit crabs in Pelham Bay. We watched birds swoop from treetop to treetop as we worked our way through Harriman State Park. For a few moments, we were reminded that there’s life outside our apartment, outside the loud or frustrating elements of our lives. We just had to be willing to try and find them.
These weren’t my first times out. That honor goes to one Sunday when, after finishing worship, I saw a Black Lives Matter protest passing by my window. I grabbed my mask and joined, collar and all. Before that, I saw no reason to escape my constraints of construction. In that moment, however, I felt God’s calling, reminding me that there’s life outside my apartment, and that I can be responsible for making it better as long as I was willing to try.
This Advent season, as our lives continue to be restricted, let us remember that there’s life outside of our constraints. There’s beauty and quiet and rage and righteousness. Like the earth, the rain and snow of God’s word falls on us, nurturing and calling us to life outside of ourselves even if we’re never able to leave our homes. So, in this season, what are YOU willing to try?
God of growth, we know that you water every single one of us with your nourishing word. During this time of waiting, help us to listen and observe what you are creating inside of us. Give us courage to look beyond ourselves and find the places we can try to make change, find peace, and take care of your world. May we connect with each other and the earth as you connect with us.
Rev. Ashley DeTar Birt is a pastor ordained in the PC(USA), and obtained her M. Div from Union Theological Seminary. In addition to serving as Co-Moderator for More Light’s Board of Directors, Ashley has served as the Pastoral Fellow for Youth and Families at Rutgers Presbyterian Church in New York, NY. Her interests include the intersections of racial justice, children and youth, interfaith communication, LGBTQIA+ issues (particularly the B), and Christianity.
Flower photo by David Kepley