12.2 Advent Devotional
O Little Town of Bethlehem
How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.
Scripture - Micah 6:6-8
6 “With what shall I come before the Lord,
and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7 Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”
8 He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Devotion - Prepare a Home for Jesus
Every Christmas for many years I have had the tradition of preparing a home for Jesus in our front yard. For the first several years I actually put the nativity figures right in front of the door on our small front porch. My young grandchildren got a kick out of saying, " Be careful! Watch out for baby Jesus!". We would often tenderly move him to make sure he and mother Mary didn't get knocked over by the opening of the front door. I think this exercise served a wonderful purpose in centering us as to the reason for the season. Certainly I have lots of snowmen, Santas. and other festive paraphernalia scattered around my house , but center stage is baby Jesus.
One year while lifting Jesus down from the shelf in the garage, he fell out of the manger! (I had forgotten he wasn't attached). To my horror and dismay Jesus broke into what seemed like a million pieces as he hit the concrete floor. I was heart-broken and actually cried because I was so upset. How could I have been so careless with Jesus? My figures of Mary and Joseph would mean nothing without the baby! As I looked at the pieces I felt certain that there was no way I could ever put Jesus back together again. Amazingly, after picking up the pieces and putting them in a shoebox I sat down and for hours carefully assembled the pieces back together again with lots of Elmers glue, holding them together with tender pressure and lots of patience. Days later the miracle had happened -- Jesus had been restored - broken and cracked in places but whole! For over twenty years he has held together. I often think of my broken Jesus on Easter morning.
I hope this rather silly story serves to remind you that my broken figure of baby Jesus is a lot like our faith. There are times when things come crashing down: the loss of a loved one, the COVID epidemic and all that has entailed, financial difficulties, illness, etc , but by faith, we pick ourselves up, we keep going, we give ourselves time to heal (often with the help of others), and we move forward, perhaps even a little stronger than we were before. May this Advent season be a time of reflection and thanksgiving as we remember the wonderful gift of God coming to be with us in Jesus. No matter how bad things may seem, we are never alone, God is with us. Keep the faith and keep trusting in the goodness and the healing power of Jesus.
Light a Little Candle performed by A Ladies Ensemble from the Chancel Choir and composed by Joseph Martin