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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Celebrate Advent: Make room for company.

jenmichel@me.com

The man in the overcoat sits by the door, buttoned up, motionless, until I pass with the tray of food. He catches my eye, nods ever so slightly, meaning for me to come closer. With his hand, that one gigantic paw, he grabs fistfuls of food. Mini hotdogs and gingerbread cookies disappear. Evaporate. My children watch wide-eyed. Once, after the nod, after the paw, he engages me in conversation. “What would you do?” he asks in a gravelly voice, describing bus drivers and handicapped kids and parents. The hypotheticals morph into tirades about Canadian politicians, none of whose names I recognize. It’s not making much sense to me in this crowded Christmas party at the Salvation Army.

"What would you do?” his eyes search mine. “Do you agree?”

“Yes,” I fumble, thinking his eyes mean for me to answer yes.

“Yes?”

“Well, not really,” I revise, having no idea what question it is I’m answering.

And then there’s the merciful tug at my sleeve. One of my children needs to find a bathroom. I excuse myself and mutter, “It’s been nice talking to you.”

* * * * *

Advent: it’s a time to keep company.

With Jesus Himself. With family and friends. With the poor.

The story of the Jesus comes to us in a web of relationships. Mary and Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah, wise men and shepherds. The triune God speaks to us in relationship, in community.

Don't get too busy to keep company this week.

Lean in and listen well.

Forgive.

And live the unforced rhythms of intimacy.

Advent: it’s a time to keep company.