Advent Daily Devotional: December 22
December 22 by Mary Beth Colston
Reading: Luke 2:33-35
We often debate when to start celebrating Christmas. However, Jesus came to restore our relationship with the Father, so the celebration of his birth is never really over. This perspective encourages me to leave a few Christmas decorations up all year. But in the sense of it having its own season, the celebration of Christmas at this Colston household begins the day after Thanksgiving with the pulling out of all the Christmas trappings and decorations we can muster! Eventually the disorganized mess of Christmas decor transforms the house. The festive look and general ambiance begin to shape our thoughts for “The Day." But with all there is to look at and dream about, the feeling for Christmas really begins with a certain record album of Bing Crosby. I grew up with said record and if it isn’t playing sometime during the decoration of our house, it just doesn’t feel like home. One thing I still need to accomplish is having a Yule log with all the candles for the season. I’ve pictured it in my head for years, and now that the children are grown, it may seem silly, but I still want that particular experience. I want our home more focused on Jesus. I have quite a few Christmas village items to display. They light up the room in which they “live” and help me imagine life always being cozy and inviting. I wonder what the folks in those houses are doing. Are they playing games with their children, sitting by a fire with hot chocolate and a book? Are they making a gift for someone or just chatting about the day? Perhaps, they are lighting their Yule log and pondering Jesus’ birth. After all it is Christmas, and that’s what we should take the time to do. In our passage today I’m enamored by two words, “marvel” and “behold”. Mary and Joseph were encouraged to ponder about what Jesus' Earthly life would accomplish. Their experience with Simeon in the temple must have caused them to wonder about or even fear the future. Let’s read it, "And his father and mother marveled at what was said about him; and Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother, "Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against, (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that thoughts out of many hearts may be revealed."
This young couple must have experienced so many emotions in their journey that their feelings were raw. Then, as they are attempting to fulfill the law’s requirement they encounter a man in the middle of the temple. This man embraces the baby and encourages his parents to be fully aware of the significance of what He was sent to accomplish. It couldn't have been easy to hear that their precious son would be one who caused strife and that He would be rejected. Who wants to hear such things? But in the midst of Simeon's message Mary and Joseph were encouraged to wonder, to observe and think about Jesus’ purpose. It wasn't to provide to them the joy of raising a child, watching him learn to walk, talk, giggle and laugh. His purpose was to reconnect us with His biological Father. I pray our church family will reconnect with our Heavenly Father in a way this year which will make a positive impact on our world. Blessings to each of you my friends.