Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Silent Night Holy Night"1 (Lyrics)
1 Corinthians 2:9 – But as Scripture says: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him." (GW)
I didn't go home the Christmas when I was 19, living in a Bible school dormitory in Portland, Oregon, USA. I had a job, and I needed the money. My employer was an elderly woman in an architecturally significant mansion stuffed with expensive porcelain, like a museum. I was to dust every piece, while she followed me around, looking over my shoulder, inspecting my work, and trying to convert me to a religion that, she insisted, I would find much better than one that followed the Bible.
It was Christmas Eve, dark by the time when I finished. Putting on my jacket, I realized that she had set the clock back in order to sneak an extra half-hour of unpaid work from me. Then, she handed me a pamphlet about her beliefs, wished me "Merry Christmas", and gave me an orange. I hadn't expected any kind of Christmas gift from her. That cheered me up a bit as I went out into the rain, until I saw that she had deducted the price of the orange from my pay. Dejected, I went back to the empty 400-girl dormitory, expecting to spend Christmas Eve alone.
When I reached the dorm, there was a van idling outside. The driver was a student, a live-in caregiver for the invalid owner of the van, who had invited anyone left behind on campus to share his Christmas Eve. The van was full as we drove up a hill opposite the one that I'd just come down. We stopped at another mansion, windows ablaze with light.
Inside, an elderly man welcomed us as he sat by a cheery fireplace. Two people were carrying trays of food. A Christmas tree scraped the ceiling, and tall windows framed a view of the city below, while the decorations echoed many happy Christmases. It was like stepping into a Christmas card. We sang carols, ate home-baked treats, talked, and laughed as we shared our reasons for being away from home on Christmas Eve.
Returning to the empty dorm, I found the youth minister from my church back home, dropping off a friend. Full of the joy that I'd just come from, I hugged him happily. My unexpected warmth sparked his return interest. We began a conversation that deepened our friendship as I went home after graduation. By the following Christmas, we were engaged, and soon after, began a long and happy marriage.
When something comes along that seems to be directing life in ways that we don't understand, we simply say, God is in it. Someone once added, Just because things aren't going the way that we want doesn't mean that they aren't going the way that they should.
2 Samuel 22:31 – God's way is perfect! The promise of the Lord has proven to be true. He is a shield to all those who take refuge in him. (GW)
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, we rejoice in the birth of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You for all the joy that You bring to us through Him in whose name we pray. Amen.