Blog: 5 December 2021

Sunday, December 5


“Seize life….God takes pleasure in your pleasure….Each day is God’s gift.”
–Ecclesiastes 9:4-6

When first arriving to town, I noticed signs. Small, white paper leaflets stapled to tree trunks, trash containers and mailboxes. They got my attention.

Actually those signs were everywhere. Revolving bank doors. Flag poles. Water fountains. Everywhere I rode my bicycle. Signs. 

Evidently that was the intent. My attention corralled for a particular purpose. Not a marketing campaign trying to sell me the latest gizmo. Nor a political appeal for a certain candidate. It was heartfelt plea to notice…notice something personal.

The center of each sign held the photo of an adorable white dog with panda-type blackened eyes. “Lost Dog”—lettered in 72 point font—marqueed each leaflet. 

In following days a noticeable shift occurred.  Bright orange paper replaced the white leaflets. Bolder colors. I sensed desperation. Urgency. Time was of the essence.  The owner sensing the window closing for their dog’s safe return. 

I’ve never owned a dog, so I’m no authority to speak about dog/human companionship. But I do know that losing something we cherish or value creates certain feelings. A lost wallet generates angst. A set of keys, frustration. An important document, panic. But losing something you love? Those are intense feelings….desperation….urgency….and even regret.

It’s love that makes our particular "dog" (or any object of love) unique, propelling us to urgently and fanatically search. When lost, we realize and understand true significance. And our hope for its return fuels our urgent action. In this case, a willingness to litter a community with orange flyers. Hope is powerful. But in its absence, urgency evaporates. Regret can set in.

Regret reminds us of our wayward attention when in the presence of the thing we loved. Our distractions now haunt us. Missed opportunities weigh on our hearts. Unspoken words remain to wither and die.

This past year has been a season of loss for many of us. Family and friends who were a phone call away are now gone.  Emptiness accompanies the smiles and laughter of holiday activities. Birthday and get well cards remain unsent.

The leaflets and the urgency of the dog’s owner reminded me of a song we used to teach the kids at summer camps. Imagine a room full of energetic children—at the beginning of life’s journey —singing these words…..

“For the rest of my days,
and in all of my ways,
I will live my life with no regrets.
I’ll laugh a little louder,
love a little longer,
Work a little harder
Pray a little stronger.
I will live my life with no regrets.”

I miss hearing that chorus, always a poignant reminder of our choice as to how we live. A reminder that regrets don’t have to be part of our future.

From what I understand, Advent’s call is to live with urgency, openness, and attentiveness for the next few weeks. As Christmas people, urgency is possible because we anticipate God’s hope as embodied in the birth of Jesus. So take inventory of your gifts, blessings and loves.  Live like they’re lost.

Peace –

Bruce Main

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