Courage And Faith

Monday, December 3, 2018
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Listen while you read: "Once In Royal David's City"1 (Lyrics)

Luke 1:78-79 – All this will be because the mercy of our God is very tender, and heaven's dawn is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and death's shadow, and to guide us to the path of peace. (TLB)

After years of childhood pain, I didn't love Christmas. I identified with the sentiments of Blue Christmas. I sat in darkness, spending time on a website called "Christmas Misery". I had plenty of memories of sorrow and loss to keep me certain that celebrating the holiday only made it worse. To support my point of view, I rewrote all the traditional and contemporary carols, especially those about how great home is, from the point of view of cats and dogs, for example, "I Saw Mama Hissing Santa Claus". Then, I rolled all my reasons together, published them in a national newspaper, and received stories from readers that reinforced my mournful point of view. This was when I was lost — until one day, I explained my lack of enthusiasm for the season to my minister. To him, Christmas was the start of the amazing story of the birth of the faith that we shared, full of love and hope in a world as dark as the one that we inhabited. I saw that my words were hurting him, but he didn't try to correct me or tell me that I was wrong. Instead, he quietly leaned back in his chair and just looked sad. That one simple action suddenly changed the way that I felt. Yet, it took courage and faith on my part, after years of pain, to change my way of thinking, to embrace the Christmas that everyone else seemed to have no trouble with. Only God's grace could make that change in me. If my minister could trust and focus on the "old, old story", then so could I, despite my years of resistance and evidence to the contrary, despite watching others, whose ongoing, deeply embedded pain I knew, quietly waiting out the season till it was finally, finally over for another year. With God's help, I also saw that what I had been fighting was the contemporary understanding that is being marketed, rather than that quiet, little miracle of the Baby who changed everything — including me.

"Courage is faith that has said its prayers," someone said. Every moment is a gift. That's why we call it the present. Just for today, let us turn towards the light that came into our world as a homeless Child and accept the gift of faith that He gives us by His coming.

John 1:4-5 – In him there was life, and that life was a light for the people of the world. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not defeated it. (ERV)

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for loving us each as though we were the only ones You had to love. Thank You for changing our thinking and thereby changing us daily to become more like You. Especially, we thank You for Christmas, the true expression of Your love for us, no matter how unworthy and thankless we have been. May we do Your will always. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen, Rose.

    Beautiful, thank you. Amen to your prayer.

    Good one. Thanks.

    Thank you for sharing such a powerful message.
    God Bless.

    What a transformation from darkness of thought, to light. Thank you.

    Thank you, Rose, for sharing your life. It’s always good to ignore the media and focus on Jesus.

    Oh Rose, thank you for sharing this touching devotional with us. Christ’s Blessings now and always.

    Dear Rose, Thank you for your deeply honest sharing of your feelings. I thank God that you had someone to help you see the hope of Christmas and are freely sharing it with others.

    Thanks for a good word today Rose. Sure glad you a change of heart, now there’s a real Christmas miracle.

    This is a lovely devotional Rose. Isn’t it great when the Lord visits our hearts and we are able to embrace the “reason for the season”?
    I wish you a very blessed Christmastide!

    Dear Rose
    Thank you for this devotional expressing how your thoughts of the meaning of Christmas changed. Happy to hear that you now enjoy the true meaning of Christmas and can celebrate the joy we know through the Lord’s birth and His ongoing love and care.
    Blessings to you and may this Christmas be one of extra joy.

    Thank you Rose. It will/would be or perhaps already is even more wonderful that you wrote this awesome story. I hope you will be able to word it once more so that you can again publish this joyful new understanding for the world to read. You may help to reach those other readers who responded to you back then.
    “Then, I rolled all my reasons together, published them in a national newspaper, and received stories from readers that reinforced my mournful point of view”.

    Dear Rose,
    How well I identify with those feelings. This year, as a member of the decorating committee I have been aiming to keep the message simple without the glitz and tackiness that we see everywhere. The real message of Christmas has been obliterated and even forbidden in some places. Every baby is a miracle but we tend to forget how special this particular birth was for us all. Thank you for a wonderful devotional.

    Good devotional. I don’t recall hearing it before, but I will certainly repeat the thought about every moment being a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.
    Wonderful you could share with someone who empathized rather than criticized or, worse, told you how you should feel. Our minister held a special session on grieving at Christmas because so many of us find Christmas hard after suffering a big loss or setback.
    Thanks for sharing.

    I’m so glad you escaped that trap!!! The enemy of our souls loves to imprison us in a world of misery! I too had misery in my life as a child and youth. And every time I felt rejected or betrayed, I would add it to my recitation of woes that I repeated to myself. It was like a pool of bitter water that was being often stirred, poisoning my soul. But the Lord delivered me from that and by grace I began to focus on the good things. And there were many! I just had focused on the negative and it blinded me to the goodness. Letting go of that bag of garbage was the best thing I ever did! Yes, lots of things have happened since then, but they do not rule my life. God is good – all the time! If we have eyes and hearts to see. Every day is cause for celebration! I don’t have to wait for Christmas! Blessed be the Lord our God!

    Those who are newcomers in a church are remembered in church dinners and programs but no one invites them into their homes. It was my practice for years to invite newcomers to my home for a dinner. It is very lonely on Christmas day unless you can find others who are alone. People have relatives and old school friends nearby or from not far away who get together. I was in choir and there was lots of chatter about family events, but no one asked me what we were doing although they knew we were temporary in the mission house, on furlough from overseas. We had an Irish pastor. A few days before Christmas I shared my need to find guests with him. To my surprise he and his wife had not had an invitation, so they came and ate the feast with us.

    Hi Rose,
    Good devotional today. I think there are a lot of people who don’t like the Christmas season. Frankly I think a lot of it is brought on by all the extra-curricular activities at this time of the year. the secular activities I mean.
    I was talking to a lady the other day who said her children who live out west can’t come home this year and she wished we would just go from the present and slide right into New Years.
    However, we look forward to the Christmas worship services and all it means to us as we remember the birth of Christ.
    Thank you for your honest writing as to how you felt.

    Thanks for your devotional. I needed it today.

    Rose, there is so much artificial hype and illusions about family get togethers. I can well understand your feelings about the season. In many ways I share them.
    It takes the power of the Holy Spirit to move through the nonsense and the illusions to reveal the light of Christ.
    Praise God!

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