Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "A Little Child The Saviour Came"1 (Lyrics)
I sat in my recliner admiring my Christmas gift. My children had bought me a tablet. I was intrigued that I could read my favourite book without turning a page.
"Nanna," Matt called.
I barely heard my son as I fiddled with the tablet.
"Hey Nan, I'm going home," Matt said, "so give me a hug."
I stretched an arm towards my son, balancing the tablet on my knees.
"Uh-uh! I want a real hug. Come on, get up." Matt stretched his hands towards me and helped me to rise. "I want to give you the kind of hug that says, 'I love and appreciate you.'" He wrapped his arms around me, enveloping my delicate frame.
My mind flooded with memories. I thought about Matt as my infant son who loved to give snuggles. I remembered his hugs as a teenager that were more like a football player's tackle. As an adult, he still loved to give hugs. Matt didn't give fake, "See ya!" hugs; his were sincere. Although his hugs were gentler now, the same emotion came through … that of love.
Love — Matt excelled at expressing it.
I thought about the family activities of the day: a gift exchange, Dad's favourite movie, a candlelit meal, a Bible reading:
Luke 2:11 – For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (KJV)
What would I remember most? I knew that my favourite memories would be the expressions of genuine affection, such as my son's hug. I felt as though I could still feel Matt's strong arms wrapped around me. I stroked my arms, longing for Matt's next hug. "Such a good boy," I whispered.
I nestled back into my recliner and opened my Bible, setting the tablet aside. I read about Simeon and Anna, whose intercession brought the Saviour's birth to fruition. I felt that I understood Mary's ponderings about her infant Son:
Luke 2:51b – His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. (KJV)
"Lord Jesus," I said, "I, too, ponder the promptings that You've placed in my heart, particularly regarding my son. You've been whispering into my spirit that he will understand You better each day. Make him a prayer warrior for You, filled with Your love and committed to knowing and obeying Your Word. Put a song in his heart and upon his lips an unshakable praise. Help him to glorify You in everything he does, and let every hug he gives be ordained of You."
I felt a stirring in my heart to spend more time in intercession. Although age had confined me to my home at times, I knew that my job was not over. My prayers would outlive me. I determined to be an effective prayer warrior like Simeon and Anna.
"Heavenly Father," I said, "use my prayers as hugs. Whatever I can imagine that aligns with the principles of Your Word, activate through my prayers."
I prayed that my family would ponder the gift that expressed the deepest love of all which had been given by Father God:
John 3:16 – For God so loved … Matt, Danielle, Eric, Dad, me, … the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV)
I envisioned Jesus' outstretched arms reaching around my son, family, neighbourhood, city, and nation. I knew that Jesus had been born to die and be raised again so that every person could receive an everlasting hug.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, use our prayers as hugs, to embrace the world with Your love. Amen.