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Christmas devotional

Unexpected Places

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 94:19 (NIV)

At a time, several years ago, when I felt weighed down by the grunge of this world, God provided a reminder of His presence at a Chicago airport.

As I waited to board, an elderly woman sitting alone on the row in front of me attempted to stand. Half-way up her foot became entangled in the strap of her purse, causing her to fall. A nearby desk attendant immediately came to her rescue. This kind young man carefully helped the shaken and upset woman back into her seat.

Awestruck by his compassionate and caring manner, I could hardly take my eyes from the beautiful scene unfolding in front of me. As he spoke with such tenderness, her frantic spirit began to calm. He gently patted her arm, and the contrast of his black hand against her white skin touched me in a way I cannot explain. I don’t recall ever having seen the character of Jesus so clearly displayed.

Turns out she was at the wrong gate for her flight, but I feel sure God put her there for a reason.

In a world so full of despair, the Spirit of God still shows up in unexpected places, just as He did so long ago in the unlikely place of a grungy stable, offering hope to a hopeless world.

Father, Help me shine Jesus to a lost and dark world.

How can you bring the joy of Jesus into someone’s life this Christmas season? It can be as simple as stopping on the street to talk to a neighbor or leaving cookies/flowers and an encouraging note at someone’s door.

Dispensers of Joy

You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance.

Psalm 32:7 NIV

Six years ago, one malnourished, tiny nine-month-old baby boy was rescued from the streets of China and dropped off at a hospital. Through a series of providential events, he became part of our family.

We can’t imagine our lives without our little Huddy Buddy. He practically levitates off the floor with pure delight when anyone enters the room. He idolizes his family and they adore him. Although at seven our grandson can’t walk or talk, he dispenses joy to everyone he meets with his sweet disposition and ear-to-ear grin. We have no idea what the future holds for this boy but know that God will use him in a mighty way.

Joy and gratefulness should be our mantra this season as we reflect on:

  • the birth of a tiny baby, called Immanuel (God with us.)
  • a God-man whose cruel death on a cross brought new life to all who believe.

Our Father has rescued and delivered us from the dangerous “streets” of an evil world. He surrounds us with a hedge of protection. We have every reason to shout hallelujah as we spread the marvelous joy of our Savior, not only this Christmas season, but every season!

Father, in all circumstances fill our hearts with the joy of your love and let it be evident to all.

Finding Jesus In The Noise

Be still and know that I am God.  Psalm 46:10  NIV

Shepherds guarded their slumbering sheep, while stable animals peacefully slept, unaware of the earth-shaking event happening in their midst.

A special baby was born in the stillness of night. No pomp or grandeur surrounded this new-born King, just quiet and humble surroundings. His parents had no place to lay him but a dusty feeding trough lined with dry, brittle hay. In the night’s quiet, the Christ child peacefully slept as His proud parents tried to grasp the miracle of this moment.

There is something about the muffled sounds of night that bring an almost eerie peacefulness as distractions of the day slowly fade away.

In the serenity of evening, I often sit on my back porch and listen. It’s as if my body’s “mute button” is on. Basking in the tranquility of silence, unburdened from the clatter of the day, brings calmness to my soul. Escaping the noise of daily life, I am able to hear Him more clearly.

The same voice that shattered the silence that night with his welcome cry of arrival still speaks to us today. We need only to be still and listen.

 

God, hush our mouths and take away the noise of this world so that we can hear you speak Truth into our broken lives.

The Blessing of Music

 

“Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

                                            “Glory to God in the highest heaven,

And on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2: 13,14  NIV    

From wee toddlers, our girls loved to sing. If given a choice, our evening devotionals would consist solely of their favorite songs. Their angelic voices rang loud and clear throughout the walls of our tiny home.

As they grew older and began playing piano, their mini-concerts became a regular part of our Christmas ritual. Joy to the World and Silent Night, two of the first songs they learned to play, provided accompaniment for their sweet, tender voices as they sang together, often breaking out into three-part harmony.

The tradition continues today with their children. Observing the beaming faces of our grandchildren as they sing their little hearts out to Jesus often brings us to tears.

This past Christmas our family, once again, caroled Silent Night; this time accompanied by cello, flute, piano, and guitar. As we lifted our voices in worship, my mind wandered to the night Jesus was born. I realized we were doing just what the angels did at His birth. How astounding for those in attendance to have actually heard those angel voices! God’s blessing of music allows us just a little taste of heaven here on earth.

Lord, may your gift of music draw us closer to You this Christmas.