Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Christians Awake"1 (Lyrics)
Deuteronomy 5:33 – Walk in obedience to all that the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live and prosper and prolong your days in the land that you will possess. (NIV 2011)
Christmas wasn't a big deal when I was growing up, but my family would usually take the train to London to see "the lights". The windows of the big department stores displayed electric trains, animated bears clapping continuously, and sequinned ballet dancers spinning around on tip-toe. Trees were hung with baubles and lights. The city shimmered and glittered at night, and my whole family was mesmerized.
When I arrived in Canada on December 18th, 1968, I once again thought that I'd been transported to fairyland. My hosts drove north through snow-covered hills, every town beautifully lit with coloured lights. I had never seen lights outside private homes, and I was convinced that all Canadians must be exceedingly rich to be able to "waste" electricity like this. I was sure that I could prosper in this wonderful country!
Five years later on December 14th, I was married. Between us, my husband and I had scraped together the fifteen dollars required for a license. We wore our everyday clothes for the wedding, and afterwards, we returned to our rented accommodation, where we indulged in a sponge cake that had a single cherry on top, and placed two small gifts under our tiny tin-foil tree — hardly prosperous!
Many years found our Christmas tree surrounded by lumber, sheets of drywall, and a hastily swept pile of wood shavings as we renovated yet another room, and yet another house. We were so tired of this that once we loaded the kids into the car on Boxing Day and drove all the way to Florida, not stopping until we reached the beach three days later. Our exhausted spirits rose as we peeled off our fur-lined boots and waded in the ocean as the sun came up — and realized just how blessed we were.
There was the Christmas that our chimney caught fire — but not the house. There was the Christmas that we discovered our cat under the tree, drunk from a new catnip toy — but not quite dead. We carried him out limp and senseless to revive in the cold air. And the Christmas … well, you have your own Christmas memories.
As our children grew, each Christmas became more meaningful as we celebrated the real reason for the season, the Light of the world, and learned how to be obedient to Him.
God promises to prosper us if we're obedient. Blessings are not always about our financial state, even though in this materialistic world it's easy to get confused. We are an affluent society and we often bless ourselves instead of waiting on God's timing.
He has blessed me beyond belief. This Christmas after worship, we'll gather with our two adult children, their spouses, and our eight grandchildren around a glittering tree surrounded by gaily wrapped gifts, far too much food — and a lot of laughter, love, and joy.
Deuteronomy 7:9 – Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commandments. (NIV 2011)
God is faithful to His promises. Let's be faithful to Him!
Prayer: Father, we thank You for always remembering Your promises. This Christmas, as we hear the age-old story of Your birth, may we be reminded of the many ways that You've caused us to prosper, and may we be a blessing to others as You have blessed us. Amen.