Readings: Zephaniah 3:14-20, Isaiah 12:2-6, Philippians 4:4-7, Luke 3:7-18

I will save the lame and gather the outcast,
and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.
At that time, I will bring you home, at the time when I gather you. Zephaniah 4:19

Shame is that awful experience of not being enough. It’s the heart’s acceptance of cruel rejection. When someone we love shames us, we break. Delight is that wonderful experience of being more than enough. It’s the heart’s acceptance of being worthy in the eyes of someone we love.

Shame and delight are often inherited, passing from fathers and mothers to sons and daughters. Shame makes us lame in spirit, outcast and homeless at heart. Delight makes us flexible and lithe in spirit, with hearts feeling welcome and at home in this world.

It is a great gift to walk into our homes, knowing that we are liked, loved, and welcome. It’s a tragedy to live in a house where we aren’t liked, loved, or welcome. Such a place isn’t really our home, and it isn’t our final residence.

Advent is walking to a stable in Bethlehem, welcoming God into our world. But it’s about something else, too. It’s walking through this life knowing that the path we are on leads us to God, our true home.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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