My spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Luke 1:47
It was the Christmas season, and I did not feel like celebrating. I was grieving the loss of my Dad who had passed away unexpectedly from coronary atherosclerosis on January 1st. Even though I was able to put up the tree, make cookies, and send out cards, I did so without emotion. The week before Christmas, my husband, Stephen had bronchitis and Daniel, our seven year old son, had a very high fever with aches and pains. After two days of caring for his needs and not seeing any improvement, I took Dan to the doctor. The diagnosis was pink eye and an ear infection. The doctor also checked my left eye which was badly swollen from a spider bite. Yes, we were falling apart! While waiting for the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions, I took Dan for a drive. As we headed back toward the pharmacy, my body and mind ached physically, spiritually, and mentally. Feeling depleted, I was adding up all the reasons that made this Christmas season extremely difficult. As I was feeling sorry for myself, I rode slowly past the life-sized nativity scene that the Plymouth Congregational Church of Plainfield, Illinois sets up each season. The manger scene shouted, “Tena, He is the reason we celebrate!” I told Dan to look out the window at the manger and promised him we would come back another day to take a longer look at the scene when we were all feeling better. As I drove away from the church, none of my current circumstances had changed, but my heart held hope as I pondered the joyous news of Christ’s birth. Encouraged by the bold display of the nativity scene, I headed out of town cheerfully singing the famous words of Isaac Watts, “Joy to the World, the Lord has come!”
Lord of all, thank you for reminding us that You and Your Holy birth are why we celebrate this joyous season.
Let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. Psalm 105:3
When I was offered my first teaching job in a rural community, I rented a room from a farm widow named Verna. It was a blessed time for me. Verna and I became good friends as we shared stories, meals, and experiences together. As we prepared for Christmas that year, her son and five year old grandson came over after Thanksgiving to help us decorate. Each person had a job to do. Verna’s grandson was so excited to help his grandma and took his task very seriously. He was in charge of setting up the nativity scene. After some time, he became exasperated. Frustrated that he could not find the Wise Men in the box, he exclaimed, “Where are the wise guys?” With a little help from his grandma, together they completed the nativity scene helping the “wise guys” find the baby Jesus.
Father God, may we be wise women who seek the King of kings. Amen.