#AdventWord #Welcome

Matapalo Beach, Costa Rica

Beaches welcome us to the sea and to the land. It just depends on which way we are going, and I love going both ways. The sea draws me to it and into it. It must be very, very cold for me to walk a beach and keep my feet dry.

The day I first encountered this beach during a fabulous wildlife photography adventure, I wrote in a post that evening that I wanted to be taken there “when I’m no earthly good anymore” to be laid among the coconuts and fiddler crabs to slide off into paradise hardly noticing the transition.

Today, I look at this photograph and think of a small, dead boy lying face down on another beach far away. I think of the parents who make horrific decisions to put the lives of their children on the line in a not-so-seaworthy boat because–tragically and due solely to human violence and evil–home has become more dangerous than the perilous journey ahead. In the words of British-Somali poet Warsan Shire, home has become the mouth of a shark.

But in fact the beach ahead might well be no more welcoming than the beach left behind. “No room for you here,” the people cry, completely ignoring the lesson of another baby seeking refuge some 2000 years ago, a baby who grew to be a man who admonished his followers to “welcome the stranger” and “treat the foreigner among you as one of you.”


  1. Rowena White

    Wow, you make a wonderful, thought-provoking connection between other unwelcome strangers and the Christ child, the painful struggles in our world for those who are seeking freedoms which many of us take for granted. Thank you for helping us meditate on the beauty of nature while still being mindful of the tragedies many endure.
    Sent from my iPad

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for that thoughtful response, Rowena. This world is such a mix of great beauty and great tragedy. The older I get, the more often and deeply moved I am by it, often to tears.


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