December 24

            What a night this has been. People coming from everywhere, looking for rooms. All because the Romans declared a census and everybody had to return to his hometown. I’d like to catch the guy who okayed that. It’s enough to drive a poor innkeeper such as myself crazy.
            Well, anyway, my inn is full to bursting, when along comes this bedraggled looking couple, she on a donkey and very much pregnant. They want a room. I have to tell them I don’t have any more rooms to spare. He looks very downcast, thanks me, and turns away into the night. I kicked myself mentally, but what could I do? I had nothing to offer them… except… I called to the man and said, “Look, it’s true that I have no rooms left at the inn, but I do have a stable. I know it’s not much, but it has plenty of straw, and at least your wife will be somewhat comfortable.” The man – I later learned his name was Joseph – thanked me, and I led them back to the stable. They settled down for the night.
            Later on, just as I was about turn in for the night, I heard a commotion out near the stable. It looked as though everybody and his brother was crowding around the door. I went out to investigate, and saw shepherds there – I don’t remember how many – looking in something approaching reverence as they gathered. I asked one of them what brought them here, and he told me a wild tale about an angel suddenly appearing to them as they were tending their sheep and announcing to them that the long-foretold Messiah had been born, and that they were to look for a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

            The Messiah has been born? Could that really be true? I had to see for myself. I squeezed myself past the throng in the door, and there was the baby, just as the shepherd had said. A baby boy. I asked what his name was, and his mother – her name was Mary – replied, “Jesus.” I am not given to imagination, but I would state before the high priest’s court that when I first looked down at the baby, he smiled at me. And that’s when I knew. What the shepherd had told me was no wild tale. It was true. Our Messiah – our Deliverer – has been born. May Yahweh ever be praised!


December 19

I have all of Amy Grant’s Christmas albums. I love all of them, but have my favorite songs on each album. I listen to them each Christmas season. On her album she released last year she has a song called “Another Merry Christmas”. Some would say it was a depressing song, I say just a realistic one.  She sings “It’s happy and sad, the good and the bad, someone’s up and someone’s barely hanging on”. Everyone is supposed to be happy and joyful during the season, right? But the fact is we all can struggle and feel lonely or sad during the season. This past week a colleague at work committed suicide and it took us all by surprise. He was always so friendly, always had a smile and was so helpful. I feel like there is so much emotion wrapped up in the season that it magnifies everything. Never mind all the pressure we put on ourselves. It is easy to get lost and miss the true meaning of Christmas. I make it a point to read our Advent devotional and I really like the one this year that helps us to focus on others and turn away from some of our  own “busyness”. I will be honest, I am in one of those years where I am just trying to make it through the season. My tree has been standing in my house bare for a week. I am trying to hang the ornaments in between writing this, not really too excited about it. But then I found this picture that I took last year of my spot on the tree where I hang all the  nativities with angels surrounding them. Some of the angels and nativities are from my Mom and Dad’s tree when I grew up. I also have the three wise men from them, that I am sure were inexpensive ornaments bought in some department store a very long time ago, but I look forward to hanging them because they tell part of the Christmas story. Let me close with the last lines of the song, “Our painted old nativity is fragile like the lives we lead, silently reminding me God is with us, another Merry Christmas”. 

Blessing and peace to you during this season!

Heavenly Father, help us to remember what this season is all about and be with those who are struggling, Send your comfort and strength to them and help us to reach out beyond ourselves. Amen.


Dec. 4

The Christmas season is upon us.  As for me, I do not like to overlap my holidays. I like to plan my preparations for Thanksgiving and enjoy Thanksgiving with my family before I start preparing for Christmas. I may be in the minority with this kind of thinking. The Christmas season always tends to become a time of hustle and bustle. As we get caught up in decorating, shopping, baking, and attending Christmas parties and concerts, our to-do list grows and grows. Sometimes you might hear someone say they can’t wait until Christmas is over. We may lose sight of the reason for the Christmas season. For Christians, the Advent season began Sunday, December 3rd. During Advent, we wait and prepare for the coming of Jesus. This is a time to think about Jesus, God’s gift to us that first Christmas. He gave us the love of Jesus. We can share Jesus’ love each day. Put “sharing Jesus’ love” at the top of your list this Advent season. Take time to reflect on what God’s gift means to you.


Thank you for the wonderful gift of Jesus and his love. Help us to share his love each day. Amen.