Friday, December 18, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The First Nowell"1 (Lyrics)

Charles Dickens, author of A Christmas Carol, once visited Kingston, Ontario, Canada, where I live, on his way to Montreal to act in a play. At that time in the 1850s, Kingston was the capital of Canada.

Kingston is a charming, nineteenth-century town, and Christmas here is serious business. Streets are decorated with lights and wreaths; there are skaters on the Market Square and sledding on the old Fort Henry hill. Images of our old limestone buildings are made into pewter ornaments to hang on Christmas trees — and new ones appear every year.

Awhile back, I was hired as a greeter by the local credit union, wearing an old-fashioned outfit with a floor-length dress and a frilly apron. I had a plate of cookies to hand out and a book of nursery rhymes to read to children. I was also to help out with any problems that members might be having. The whole establishment was Christmased to the hilt: wrapped presents under a heavily decorated big tree; a miniature depiction of an English village with little porcelain figurines of carolers; everything shiny, ornamented, and beribboned; and me sitting in the centre, smiling and welcoming. Given a comfy chair in a warm room, I would occasionally nod off a bit, wire-rimmed glasses slipping down off my nose.

One day, fighting off just such a snooze, I dimly heard the creak of the old front door open, and a woman commenting, "How lifelike she looks!" Oh, my goodness!

I quickly rose to my feet and said, "Good morning!" just as though I hadn't been caught napping.

"Eeeeeeek!" the woman responded, paling and backing away. For a moment I thought that she might be going to faint.

"What's the matter?" I said, not sure what to do. "Can I help?"

"I thought you were part of the decorations," she said weakly. "One of those stuffed dummies, you know?" It was hardly a compliment, but it was the job that I'd been hired for.

Ah, physical reality! In these days of animatronics and computer-generated graphics, it isn't easy to tell the living from the stuffed, truth from falsehood, reality from fantasy. With the constant advance of high tech, any reality at all can be confusing, hard to find, and often difficult to understand. Change and decay in all around I see, the old hymn complains.

Ephesians 2:4-6 – But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). (NKJV)

Paul assures all of us who believe, that we live in a clearer, brighter reality than the old one that we inhabited before we came to know God. Looking back on it, we can see that we were dead in our sin, but Christ brought us alive — no longer stuffed dummies! This higher reality, lit by the light of eternity, is perfect, just, and understandable. Someone said, Believing is seeing. Let's praise the Lord!

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, how grateful we are that Your promise is clear and unmistakable concerning the spiritual existence that we have been granted when we came to believe. Thank You for sending Your Son as a human being to be our salvation, and Your Spirit to enable us to take, with You, the often-painful path which is our present reality, knowing that You have gone this way before us and that You walk with us today. Help us to discern Your truth in all our attitudes and activities. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Beautiful story, Rose. Have a Merry Christmas.

    Good morning Rose,
    Good devotional this morning. I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas.

    Merry Christmas Rose. You and your writings are appreciated now and through the year.

    WOW like WOW! Thank you Jesus for helping Rose write this!! Like WOW!!
    As you described this real story, I was smiling, visualizing it all in my mind.

    Your post is so true, Rose. I miss visiting beautiful Kingston. I used to live not far. May the blessings of hope, peace, joy, and love be yours this Christmas!

    Hi Rose: What a charming story of a real-life experience. Someday maybe I will get to Kingston to visit friends and experience the charm of Kingston. Christmas Blessings to you.

    Rose, what a gift of words today! Thanks. I was right there in the scene as you snoozed off (almost)! I love how you tied in how we were the life-like ‘stuffed dummies’ before Christ brought us alive.

    Oh Rose, what an experience that must have been, yet God is so good that He turned it into a devotional through you. Thank you for obediently sharing it with us. Blessings.

    Dear Stuffed Dummy,
    Thanks so much for sharing that hilarious episode in your life. I have a sister named Rose and I am forwarding this on to her. She needs laughter today.
    God bless you as you continue to bless us with your Devotionals!!

    Hello Rose.
    Your devotional is a blessing: it’s a wonderful story and message.
    I wish you God’s rich blessings this Christmas and the peace and comfort of His presence always.

    Lovely image, you nodding off and scaring the customers! Loved “believing is seeing”, how true!
    Thanks for starting my day right!
    Christmas blessings abundant be on you as well as those you love!

    How I wish I could have seen you as official greeter. It was easy to picture you as Mrs. Santa Claus with your cookies and book of nursery rhymes! And you are right, it is easy to be confused about what is real these days as there are all sorts of illusions surrounding us. Thank you for a wonderful and insightful devotional.

    Dear Rose:
    You are a hoot! If you haven’t started your memoirs yet, I hope you will soon.
    But most of all, I love your love for the Lord. I pray He keeps you safe and healthy throughout this Christmas season and the New Year.
    May you have a very blessed Christmas.

    Hello Rose
    Yet another uplifting devotional. Thank you.
    Kingston, at Christmas time, sounds beautiful.
    Wishing you and yours a very blessed, and safe, Christmas season.
    May the Lord watch over you.
    Very best wishes,

    Hi Rose,
    You definitely have had a lot of different experiences in your work life. This one is especially different and interesting. I think you must be an extrovert and really like people. I wondered how you knew about Charles Dicken’s visit, so I looked it up on the internet. Very interesting.
    Thank you for sharing your experiences and always encouraging us to be believers in Christ. May many blessings come your way.

    Good morning Rose,
    Thank you for another of your delightful devotionals. Quite an experience you had being a greeter at that time and placed among all the decorations that caused viewers to question if you were a live person. One thing we know for certain is that our Lord is truly there for us to seek and He is ever ready to hear our prayers.
    Blessings for the writings you submit.

    Good Morning Rose:
    Thank you for another wonderful meditation. I have always enjoyed reading your meditations. I wanted to tell you that I enjoyed your humor in this one. I could just picture it and had a much-needed giggle. I think that today people are too consumed with the “virus” and forget to have a good giggle at something. Sometimes today the so-called giggles presented are not always those you can enjoy and actually forward on to others.
    Your message to follow that bit of humor was right to the point and I appreciated it all.
    Thank you for your time and your many meditations. I pray that this “quiet” Christmas will actually result in everyone remembering why we celebrate Christmas and who the celebration is about.
    Have a Merry, Blessed Christmas.

    Another great story and I can just picture that in Kingston.
    And excellent spiritual connection.

    Thanks for sharing Rose.
    Merry Christmas in advance.

    Dear Rose,
    I loved reading your devotion and listening to a shorter version in our Thursday Study Group. You have been given a special gift in opening the door on a special time, event, scene, person and so much more and bringing it to life for all who read it. It is true in this devotional. I can actually see you in your “Mrs. Claus” garb with your amazing and welcoming smile. (You are one of those people who God has given a permanent smile to. What a blessing!) Your application to Scripture brings one to the reality of the omnipresence of God.
    May your witness of God’s presence in your life continue in your writing… so I can continue to enjoy!
    Blessings in your day!

    Dear Rose, Another great story from your amazing life and a wonderful application.

    Hi Rose,
    I love your cute / funny stories, and this is a perfect one to illustrate your point. Robin obviously agreed!

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