I was lucky enough to have my writing included in my church’s advent devotional this year (We would welcome you to join us at the Christmas Eve service! Ask me if you’re interested.) This is one of my offerings from the devotional. I hope this season will bless you.
Psalm 139:13-14 Common English Bible (CEB)
You are the one who created my innermost parts; you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb. I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart.
Your works are wonderful—I know that very well.
In December 2015, a little Chihuahua puppy shivered and starved on the streets of Kansas City. Temperatures were harsher than average. Lows at night dropped to 13 degrees, even lower with the wind chill. Without his mother and littermates, and no human to care for him, the puppy grew weaker from cold and hunger. In desperation, he began to eat plastic.
Kind people rescued the puppy. He was unable to eat because he was so weak and his belly was so full of plastic. They removed the plastic from his belly. Then they fed him broth. As his strength returned, they rallied for him and got him the care his life depended on. Today this puppy named Mufasa is a lively, happy dog who lives with me and my husband. (We are so thankful to all the volunteers at Paws Crossed Inc. for their loving care and bringing him to us!)
During the holidays, I see how people can grow desperate. The puppy was hungry for real food but ate plastic because it was all he could find. In the same way, I believe people are hungry for spiritual nourishment and deep connections. They can’t find nourishment or connections, so they fill the holidays with plastic materialism. They buy into the commercial pressure and intensity. They try to buy moments of joy and happiness. Then come January, they look at their credit card debt with regret.
God created us to be marvelous. We don’t need to buy anything to rest in the unconditional joy that we are God’s beloved children. No amount of plastic will fill the need we have for God. Kindness and mercy are free for all to give and receive.
When we give thanks for what we have, it liberates us to see how God is working in our lives. Jesus is not a plastic lawn decoration. Christmas is not a plastic holiday. Christmas invites us to know our Savoir, the heart of God and God’s love for us all, no matter who we are.
God who created us, give us eyes to see the hungry, the abandoned and the lonely. Strengthen us in this season of long nights to be havens of warmth for those alone on the streets. Make our arms strong to do your work, feeding your people and your creatures with nourishing food and your nourishing Word.