Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "While Shepherds Watched"1 (Lyrics)
Luke 2:10-11 – But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." (NIV)
When my sister, Roberta, died of cancer at age 49 in July of 2004, I decided to plant a small mugo pine in our front yard. Like others who have lost loved ones, I wanted to have a living memorial for my sister. I named the mugo pine "Roberta's tree" and watched it grow. In 2008 when we sold our home to move to a townhouse, I thought that it would be useful to write a note of welcome to the new owners. The note provided helpful information about the house, which was new when we had moved in 18 years earlier.
In the note, I mentioned how we had enjoyed living in the home, and I included information about Roberta's tree so that the new owners would know that I had planted it in her memory. I also requested that they keep the mugo pine. Although they did not live in the house long before it was sold again, my request must have been passed along to the new owners.
Last December, I had the occasion of going to the house to pick up a parcel that had been delivered in error. Much to my surprise and delight, the mugo pine was about four feet tall, and it had spread out a lot. Best of all, it was adorned with Christmas lights. This came as a wonderful surprise and source of joy, since I had never expected to find lights on Roberta's tree.
God's ways are often surprising and beyond our understanding. The Almighty, who brought joy to the shepherds of old at the time of Jesus' birth, still brings joy and encouragement to the hearts of His children today, often when we least expect it. This is a cause for great rejoicing.
Prayer: God, You brighten dark December days with light. We praise You for bringing joy to the world at Christmas and all through the year. Amen.