>>Merry Christmas! Here is a devotion I delivered at Trinity’s Ladies Christmas Brunch, December 7, 2013. My indentations are lost but I’ve left the spacing which I used in my delivery copy.<<
Our theme for our brunch today is The Wonders of Christmas.
And Christmas is certainly a wonderful time!
Snowflakes, parties, twinkling lights, brunches with beautiful decorations.
Cookies and presents and carols.
And lots of things to wonder about.
We wonder what size our nephews are,
and whether they’ve outgrown Pokemon.
We wonder what to buy an elderly aunt who needs nothing
and won’t eat anything we cook.
We wonder what size turkey to buy,
and whether anyone will care if we use Stove Top instead of homemade.
We wonder if we can lose eight pounds before Christmas
in spite of all the cookies, and pies, and parties…
Did we buy too much? Too little? Do they like green?
Does he have this one already? Did we forget someone?
How on earth do those people pay their electric bill?
How are we going to pay for all this?
We wonder if you’re supposed to give a gift to the paper boy
if the paper is usually in the bushes and often soaking wet.
We wonder if we should try to include that family member
—you know the one—
or somehow try to arrange things to minimize our contact with them.
We wonder, too, if our daughter’s friends are a bad influence.
If our son has started smoking.
If there’s something we can do to help them,
and what that might be,
and how we go about it?
We wonder if he’ll drink too much at the office party.
If we yelled too much at the kids yesterday.
If it’s normal to be treated this way.
If the test results will be negative.
If anyone will visit us this year.
If we should call Hospice.
We are puzzled and struggling and wonder about many things.
when the angel told her of her impending pregnancy,
“how can this be, as I am a virgin?”
The answer… the Holy Spirit will come.
And while I don’t expect the Holy Spirit to come upon me
and produce a child
(at least, I certainly hope not!)
I do need the Holy Spirit to come
and give me guidance and strength.
To get through the holidays and accomplish our lists we need strength
—lots of it!
But even more,
we need the Holy Spirit’s grace and presence
to be able to look hard at our lists,
and know what needs done,
and what is ambitious,
and what is a total pipe dream.
We need His peace, too,
to accept our limitations
and prioritize what needs done,
and let the rest go.
But wonder is not only puzzlement.
Wonder is also amazement and joy,
like the face of a child seeing the Christmas tree lit up,
or the sight of that one house simply covered with lights,
or the sound of Silent Night
in a church filled with hundreds of candles.
Elizabeth was in awe that the mother of her savior
would come to her.
The shepherds were amazed
to see the angels
and hear the news that a savior had been born.
amidst the wonder and amazement of twinkling lights
and beautiful decorations
and concerts and pageants,
let us not forgot to be amazed
that the God who created the universe,
the Holy Three-in-One,
outside of time,
far beyond the scope of our understanding
A baby in a diaper,
in the barn,
with the animals.
it borders on the bizarre.
Why on earth would God do that?
The answer, of course, is His love for us—
which is the truly amazing thing.
He loves us far more than we love our family,
(and I know we’re just as difficult as they are!).
Yet He loves us enough to stoop down,
to step into time,
to accept our limitations as His own,
to become like us,
and with us,
and die in our place.
How amazing is that?
if you’ll join me in trying to keep our focus on Christ this year?
we get into a decent routine,
and then, BAM,
the holidays hit and we’re up late and early,
missing our devotions,
chasing our to do lists,
forgetting to seek the One we celebrate.
In the midst of our wondering
—how do they get those lights on that house?—
let us not forget to wonder about His love for us.
To find time to seek His face,
and His grace,
and His presence in our lives.
To spend time with Him,
reading His word,
seeking His presence,
learning His will,
and walking in the path He sets before us each day.
Let us pray…
Father, thank you that you love us with a love that is so wonderful,
Help us to remember that You
are the reason that we celebrate,
to include you in all our activities,
to seek you and your strength during this holiday season
and in the year to come.
Thank you for the opportunity to gather together as women,
and have a morning celebrating your gift
and enjoying the fellowship we have with one another.
Thank you for the food we are about to enjoy,
and bring many blessings to the people who prepared it.
Thank you that,
for this morning,
we’re not the ones cooking!