DAY 4: DECEMBER 2, 2020 (There are two devotions today.)
2020 has been a year that we all will remember. It has been a year filled with a pandemic, political and social divides, and many people wondering what the future holds. During these times, we often look in many alternative directions in hopes of achieving our desired outcomes and lose the center focus that we are not in control. This Christmas is going to be special for our family getting to celebrate with our children, but we have to remember the greatest gift was born and we are celebrating Him.
I hope this Christmas we all reflect on the real reason of Christmas. Our girls have asked if we can celebrate by making a birthday cake and singing happy birthday to Jesus. This moved us as parents due the fact they understand it is not just gifts, bows, and celebration. We hope to raise girls who are good stewards and to enjoy watching their relationship with God grow.
John 3:17. Jesus explaining to Nicodemus, “God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”
God is love,
David and Erin Shew
Ecclesiastes 3:1 To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
What a time to be alive…or so it seems. As I’ve navigated this year and the hurdles presented during these days, it feels like every turn has the potential for disaster. I’ve found my life, and the many positives it contains, being washed over by the feelings of fear, worry, division, anger, frustration, loneliness, and severance. Like bad characters in a haunted house, these feelings have been waiting to jump out around the corner and “get me” just when I let my guard down. So many things I count on for a sense of routine, peace, and rejuvenation were cancelled this year: a week of ASP, Youth Retreats, the Contemporary Worship Service, Thanksgiving Breakfast, and the Love Feast, just to name a few. On some level, the fear of being ambushed has replaced the hopefulness, optimism, joy, and perspective that I used to enjoy; and I am sure I’m not alone. As you read this you are most certainly being met with challenges that squarely place the weight of the world on your shoulders…sometimes it all seems too much too carry. Thankfully, I haven’t dealt with severe illness or death; I’ve not been unemployed or had to worry about paying my bills; I have food to eat and plenty of people to help support me if I don’t. And in this thought lies the rub and some perspective. In Acts we read of Jesus taking the scales from Saul’s eyes so he could see again, sight restored so that the love and grace of Christ could be shared with the world through the actions of Paul.
I’m left with the feeling that during this season we are facing our own conversion moments. As the season of Advent comes upon us, individually and collectively, we are being called to trust that Jesus will meet us, protect us, and transform us. Removing the scales from our eyes so we may see; and the ugliness from our hearts so we can once again love our brothers and sisters, our neighbors and strangers, even our enemies with the fullest of God’s love that we can muster. Think back for a moment, your mind focused solely on a sanctuary full of individual lights becoming one brilliant display of fellowship and love. The sounds of “Silent Night” spilling out onto Randolph St., and the smiles of your neighbor as you prepare for a short walk into the cold night. For just a moment it all comes back to you. A seemingly small reminder of all the hope, and peace, and community, and love you feel in that moment. That’s where God is in all of this…in the light. Always there, and always conquering the darkness of this world and transforming the shadows inside of our hearts. As we transition into this next season, may you find your purpose re-kindled and your hearts encouraged and hopeful. The light is here…don’t be afraid.
Grace, Peace, and Merry Christmas.