Christmas Choice

December 3, 2019
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Listen while you read: "Once In Royal David's City"1 (Lyrics)

With the importance of the moment smiling through his bushy red moustache, Grandpa eased into his chair at one end of the long, full table where the jars of red cranberry sauce nestled in poinsettia skirts — the final touch of Grandma's work before she sat down at her end of the table.

In front of Grandpa was that great, glowing, tan turkey, whole. And Grandpa sat there, asking each of us in turn what piece we wanted, carving it off for us. On this the first Christmas of my memory, I was seated two or three persons up the table from Grandpa's left, a little girl of about three, and it was my turn to say what I wanted. I hesitated, for I hadn't known such a choice could be mine. I suppose that at home I had received in my bowl what my parents considered suitable. So, I was helped in my decision by my mother from across the table, and by several aunts, uncles, and cousins all talking at once until some meat was placed upon my big plate.

Today, I'm glad that among all the Christmases, that first one for me was a time when I was given a choice. No doubt, the very gift of choice gave me the consciousness necessary to remember the moment.

Likewise, God, by giving us human beings personal and ultimate choices, both creates and affirms our personhood.

Through the ages, leaders with divine mandates have been aware that persons have the power to make great choices. Joshua, of Old Testament times, offered the Israelites a choice: "Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15 ESV)

Still today, many people don't know that they can make ultimate choices such as whether or not to serve God. Some fear an ominous and fixed fate that they imagine binds them forever into being acted upon (especially in relationship with God), and never having power to decide.

Yet, we have the God-given right to choose to serve God because God has chosen us in the first place. The apostle Paul wrote, "Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ" (Ephesians 1:4 NLT). We can make the choice to accept God's choosing of ourselves.

Christmas helps us to know that Jesus came to the world as Emmanuel, God with us, to embody and enlighten our choosing.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for choosing us and for giving us free will to choose You as our Saviour, redeemer, and guide. Enlighten all of our choices, for Your name's sake, and help us to influence for You all whom we encounter. Amen.

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About the author:

Isabel Allison
Roland, Manitoba, Canada

1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thanks for the good word, Isabel.

    Thanks Isabel. May we all make the right choice!

    Thank you for sharing. Nice to think of a fellow Manitoban writing.

    Thanks for a good word today Isabel!

    Thank you for sharing your memories, and to help us all recall some of our own. Merry Christmas.

    Thank you, Isabel, for sharing this encouraging devotional with us. Have a blessed Advent and Christmas. Blessings.

    Dear Isabel:
    Beautifully said. Thank you and a very Blessed Christmas to you and yours.

    Thanks for sharing! Much food for thought. Yes, like Joshua’s people, we have a choice.
    Blessings on your day!

    Thanks so much Isobel, I especially thank you for the prayer!
    It has been a long while since I have read your excellent devotional. Hoping you are keeping well and sending you wishes for a special Christmas, one filled with Joy!

    Powerful ‘choice’ of scripture today, Isabel. You really make the point that a daily choice is always available in our lives today. We don’t hear much from Joshua, so it is even more poignant for sharing this important ‘choice.’ Thank you for the inspiration.

    Dear Isabel,
    What a wonderful way to handle the issue of choice at a big Christmas dinner. Your weaving of Bible stories through it made the telling powerful.
    Thank you.

    My father’s favourite verse “As for me and my house we shall serve the Lord.” He said it many times. If he thought we wanted to do something inappropriate he would recite this verse.
    Thank you.

    Hello Isabel,
    Thank you for writing this very good devotional today. We are so blessed when we make the right choices in life and the very best choice is to seek the Lord and faithfully worship Him.
    Blessings to you and enjoy a beautiful day

    Good morning Isabel,
    What a lovely message you are giving us today and what a lovely memory you have of your Christmas with your family when you were 3. We do like to be given a choice and that is why God gave us self-will. It does make our lives more interesting because we do have to work hard to put God as the focus of our day and not all the business we think we have to get done. Thank you for your devotional and may many choices and blessings come your way.

    Well Done; To be given a choice is the most precious of all things, and the right and true road is to have a mentor who can point us in the right direction, not through orders but through showing us the way.
    For that I will always remember my Sunday school teacher who introduced our young minds to the life of Jesus; his journey, incredible courage, vision and most of all his leadership. She allowed us to see and feel those verses from the bible as though we were actually there.
    Thank-you for the reminder of how it really is and was.

    Hi Isabel
    Thank you for your devotional, good words about how it used to be.
    Ms. Allison, I was delighted to see that your analysis of WHY you remember that day/occasion coincides with my conclusions.
    There is always a reason for the memory sticking in the grownup mind. Yours is very convincing to me. My thinking is that Age 3 is not at all too early for you to have remembered that occasion – and you did NOT have to be TOLD that it happened. Probably no one at the table thought much about what was happening inside your head – as you cited, they just wanted to make the decision for you. You may even have had to allow them to do it, but the point to YOU was that you’d been given the opportunity.
    I’d like to ask what your life has been like as an adult. Clearly you are a person who continues to choose and who likes to decide for herself. That’s another reason you remembered that day!
    (South Carolina)

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