Listen to this devotional:
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.