An Urgent Season for Neighborliness


As Advent is approaching, I'm pondering some of the things that I am hoping to do in order to help make this the most memorable Advent season possible.  

For the next couple of days, I'm going to be reflecting on those ponderings here in this space in hopes that maybe my reflections might spark some of your imaginations, and help lead us all to a better Advent.  

Today I'm thinking about the concept of neighborliness, and how I want to be a better neighbor to the people who live on my street.  

I've learned over the course of the last couple of years that my neighborhood is full of awesome, busy people.  But when we've taken the time to get to know them, to ask them about their lives, their hobbies, to engage in real conversation... it's made a huge difference in the way we see our street and everyone who lives here.   

This morning I read an awesome, convicting quote from theologian Walter Brueggeman about the need for more and better neighborliness from those of us who call ourselves Christians:  
It is now an urgent season for neighborliness that will contradict our consumerism, that will subvert our inordinate militarism, and that will refuse the culture of appearance.  We have other things to do with our lives in our God-given freedom. 
We do have better things to do, and most of those better things involve connecting with other people.  And what better way to spend this Advent season than engaging with your neighbors?

Perhaps you have your own traditions of doing just that--baking cookies to be delivered, invitations for dinner, block parties...  

Or maybe you have an unfulfilled desire to connect to the people who you spend years of your life sharing proximity, playdates, conversation over a hedge or a fence, gardening tips, coffee or an adult beverage or three over a barbeque grill.  

It is "an urgent season for neighborliness."  We can begin to show our neighbors what it looks like when the Prince of Peace shows up and turns the world upside down.  

You and your neighbors might have had different candidates' signs festooned in your front yards this past election, but you have always had the same rows of trees and meandering sidewalks that connect your homes and your hearts. 

Make some new traditions this year and invite your neighbors to share this coming season of expectation with you.  You might be unexpectedly surprised at how Jesus shows up in the midst of your hospitality with blessings and newfound joy. 

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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