Christmas In October

Sunday, October 25, 2020
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Listen while you read: "When He Cometh"1 (Lyrics)

I keep a box of mementoes in a drawer. Every so often, it is good to look at poems or wise sayings that teach the grace of God in our lives. But I carry one of those keepsakes in my Bible: a ticket for a gondola ride.

In 1997, John and I went on a short-term mission trip to Brazil. Our group worked in Sao Paulo for four weeks, and then, in October, we went to Rio de Janeiro to see the sights, guided by the local missionary couple.

I have always had a great fear of heights over openness. After a lot of coaxing from John and the others, I gingerly walked into the cable car for the gondola ride to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain. While the others enjoyed looking down over the bay and the city, I stood stiffly and looked up at the cable. On the top of the mountain is the huge statue called Christ the Redeemer.

When we got to the top, a thunder and lightning storm struck. To wait out the torrential rain, we sat on benches in a pagoda-like structure. Within minutes, the electricity went off. We were all sitting quietly in the dark when one in our group started singing a Christmas carol. My fear of the cable ride left me momentarily, and I, too, started singing from memory. Soon, others gathered around to join in the singing. Though they could not understand the English language, they recognized the tunes, and they sang in Portuguese. The harmony was beautiful. It was a wonderful witness to be proclaiming the Saviour's coming to earth through singing the carols. When the lights came back on, there were lots of smiles and positive head-shaking.

Matthew 1:21 – She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Indeed, I am so thankful today that I went on that cable car to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, even though I am still afraid of heights. After these many years, I remember the thrill of expressing praise to God for His Son, Jesus, through singing Christmas carols in October.

Do we take every opportunity available to us to witness for Jesus to friends and neighbours? Though the message on COVID-19 changes each day as we listen to the news, the message of Jesus coming to earth to redeem man from sin never changes, and provides hope for us, regardless of the news.

Prayer: Father, help us to witness to others the good news of the salvation found in Jesus Christ. Amen.

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About the author:

Ruth Rowe <>
Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Encouraging words, Ruth. God bless.

    What a lovely experience, Ruth, and a good example to witness wherever we are.

    Such a lovely story, Ruth. One never knows where we will meet Jesus. Thanks, and God bless!

    Good afternoon Ruth,
    Good devotional, may we be witnesses to others indeed. Re: Fear of heights. When we lived in Austria my wife and little children forced me to take them on a gondola ride up the side of a mountain. My fingerprints are still in the seat.
    Thank you for writing and causing me to remember this event.

    Dear Ruth,
    I can relate well to your story because of my fear of heights but I am not sure anyone could have convinced me to get into the cable car. I am glad for you that someone started to sing and made everything memorable. Definitely a memento can bring back very important memories in our lives. Thank you for sharing yours and for reminding us to take opportunities to share the Word with others as we continue the COVID journey. May many blessings come your way.

    Hello Ruth,
    Thanks for sharing the story of your adventure of taking the gondola even though you fear heights. The Lord is surely with us no matter where we are and praising Him with song no matter the season, I’m sure He doesn’t mind, and it sure gives us memories of the event. This October here in parts of B.C. we have already had snow and I have smiled hearing some people saying “Merry Christmas” in the past couple days. Snow time here brings to mind that special event of the birth of our loving Saviour and the songs that relate to that special happening.
    Blessings for writing this memorable devotional.

    Music can be a great unifying force.
    Lovely story.

    Wow, Ruth, this message was so encouraging! And what a testimony! No wonder you keep the ticket from the gondola ride in your Bible. What a wonderful experience you all had – language barriers were set aside, and the love of Christ just flowed through like the rains around you. Thank you so much for sharing this!

    Dear Ruth,
    Thank you for sharing and giving encouragement to keep our focus on Jesus. When we keep our eyes on Him, we have courage to overcome.

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