Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Come All Ye Faithful"1 (Lyrics)
Isaiah 9:6 – For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (ESV)
Some time back, I watched a programme on television called Antiques Roadshow, which Caroline encouraged me to take in. I say "encouraged" but in reality, it was more of an expectation of husbandly compliance for a quiet life. The programme is very popular amongst a certain section of the UK populace. On the show, people bring along their prized or quirky possessions to be quizzed and valued.
In truth, I enjoy spending the time sitting together on the sofa on a Sunday evening. It is amazing what comes up to be discussed and valued. Some things are worth a large fortune. Some are of great historical interest, going back to a famous event in previous centuries. Others are just unusual and of human interest.
In this particular episode, a man brought a group of books tied together with a ribbon. As I recall, it was a gift from his uncle to take with him when he went to boarding school. Being a young boy and not a bookworm, sadly, he never got to untie the ribbon and look at the books to read. Now, at least fifty years later, he revealed what he had missed out on, if only he had bothered to untie the ribbon. The books had been hollowed out to make a hidden package. Inside, filling the void, were stored a number of well-known chocolates and candies, all still in their wrappers fifty years old.
How ironic! It was a way for the kindly uncle to get candy contraband to his nephew, past the system of oversight — a way of demonstrating that he understood the need for support in a time of strict organizational direction. Been there, done that, got the scars — now mostly healed after fifty years — so I empathized with the thought.
Today, I think about how Jesus brings us a gift of peace. Inside, the gift is more than it appears on the surface. Inside the birth of a baby, hidden, God resided.
Jesus, born in anonymity as the Prince of Peace in troubled times, not only brought the gift of peace and deliverance from inner turmoil but also brings us the gift of connection with our Creator, and inside us, the presence of the Holy Spirit. All we have to do is first open and accept the gift, freely given.
Prayer: Lord, we know that You did not have it easy growing up in a world full of strict rules and social turmoil. Today, oftentimes, it seems that the "You in us" has been crushed, left behind somewhere in the surviving and doing of life. We invite Your Holy Spirit to come again and fill the void that we have let grow inside us during this time of trial. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.