Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Child In The Manger"1 (Lyrics)
2 Timothy 4:6-9 – As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing. (NRSV)
For my first Christmas as a new grandma, I received a very special present from my grown daughter, the sister of the baby's father. It was a collection of books containing her favourite childhood bedtime stories for me to share with her little nephew.
I could hardly wait for the day when Willy would be a little older so I could read him bedtime stories wrapped in the arms of love. But as time passed, there was a problem with my dream becoming a reality. Willy was a busy boy. He was never still until sleep finally claimed him. Year after year, I tried to read him a story. Year after year, I put the book back on the shelf — unread.
Then, one Saturday night, when he was all ready for bed, Willy spoke the words that I had longed to hear. "Read me a story, Grandma." It was music to my ears!
"I'd love to." I replied. "You crawl under the covers while I go downstairs to get a book."
"No, Grandma. Read this one!" he said emphatically, as he reached up to the bookshelf beside his bed and pulled out a Bible. Not one of the child's Bibles with colourful pictures, but a plain old blue Bible with lots of words and no pictures. He insisted and would accept no substitutions.
So, I whispered a little prayer and opened the book at the beginning, and told him the story of how God made the world and everything in it, in words a child of three could understand.
It was one of those magical moments, cuddling together as night fell, sharing the goodness of God with this precious little boy.
Although it wasn't the story time that I had dreamed of long before, it probably was the story time that God dreamed of … with stories of faith being passed from one generation to another. For one reason or another, it isn't always easy to share our faith, even within our extended family circle.
In today's Scripture, Paul is writing his words of farewell to Timothy, his child in the faith. Like Paul, many of us may realize that we are closer to the end of our life than its beginning. By faith, we know that our heavenly homecoming is assured, but sometimes, we need a little reminder that our work is not yet done. We have stories to tell, life experiences to share, and children and grandchildren to nurture in faith and love.
This Advent, as we look forward to the coming of Christ, may we also look for new ways of telling the old, old story … of how Love came down to dwell among us … wrapped in a blanket, laid in a manger.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for opening doors of opportunity for us to share our faith. May Your great grace and love show forth in all we do and say. Amen.