And then he paused and said, “Everyday.”
“Everyday?” I asked, thinking after all that there was surely something more.
“Everyday!” He said.
I decided to push a little. “Everyday, what?”
“Everyday is holy. Each day is a day to tell about the Lord. That’s the business I’m in and business is good.”
I discovered that Mr. Shoe Doctor (I asked him his name and he just pointed to the apron) had shined shoes in many places. He liked to talk about Chicago’s O’Hare airport, so I figured he served there the longest. He told me about his life. How he had lost a son and moved back to the area to take care of his mother. He got excited when he talked about being diagnosed several years ago with cancer and how God had given him his life on this earth back through treatment and remission. Each story was peppered with talk about Jesus, Holy Scripture and faith. He said God had been so good to him that he had to tell it, and tell it he did.
I’ve been thinking about my feet ever since the encounter with the Shoe Doctor. Feet probably aren’t what most contemplate during the holidays, but, the more I think about it, the more it seems fitting. After all our feet, literally and figuratively, carry us into the season and beyond to tell about what God has done. The familiar hymn instructs us to “go tell it on the mountain” that salvation was born on Christmas morning. “How beautiful on the mountains” the prophet Isaiah tells us “are the feet of those who bring good news.” (Isaiah 52:7).
I sometimes wonder if my feet really carry me to the places in this world that need to hear the good news. Of course, I join with the world to shout it during Advent and Christmas, but when the tree is by the curb, the children are back in school and everything returns to “normal” where do my feet carry me? Do I really look for the opportunities God gives me to “tell it?”
The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary with the announcement that she would conceive and bear a son. After a moment of questioning and doubt her response was resolute. "Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word." (Luke 1:38).
This “Yes” to God took Mary on a journey to the manger, but following the singing and the visiting royalty, the journey continued. It was a life filled with joy and anguish. There were some parts that I’m sure Mary would have avoided but her feet, with God’s help, carried her through. She gave birth to salvation on Christmas, but she continued to give birth to salvation through her life in the world by nurturing a life with Christ and following the call of God.
The angel appears to all of us this Advent and echoes the words he spoke to Mary. “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” (Luke 1:28). We are favored and blessed, not because of what we have done, but whose we are. We may pause and look around, thinking the angel is surely asking someone else. Mary did it too. We may question our qualifications and ability, but make no mistake-each of us is being called. We are asked to bear Christ in the world through our lives, not just around the tree or at a Christmas pageant, but everywhere, even at the car wash.
Our shoes are shined and ready to walk. Where will our feet carry us and will we have the courage to tell it? Everyday.