Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Light three candles…begin your prayer time by lighting the first two purple candle, the Hope and Peace candles…and light the rose or pink candle…the Joy Candle.
READ: Jeremiah 31:31-34
31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, “Know the Lord,” for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
Friends, we have a busy God. During Advent we find ourselves very busy. Busy doing all the preparations for the upcoming Christmas day. Busy making food for parties and buying presents and cleaning our homes. Busy, Busy, Busy. And the closer it gets the more intense it gets. But what is driving us?
As my family has been reading these devotions each night at the dinner table, lighting our candles, the discussions have continued to become more real and honest. The other night, one of my children asked, why do people celebrate Christmas if Jesus is not important to them?
That is a great question.
Why are their so many movies (insert Hallmark), that talk about Christmas as this “feeling” or “sense” that we have. So much of the secular world makes Christmas about Santa or this time of year when we all gather together – a feeling. They leave Jesus out altogether, which has always amazed me. They focus instead on that sense of belonging or connectedness and that becomes the heart of what they commercialize. Disclaimer: There are several “Christmas” movies I watch each year that don’t talk about Jesus. No judgement.
Friends, we have a busy God. In our lesson for today, from Jeremiah, God is clear. He has tried to give us his commandments. Written them on tablets and more. The people continue to mess that up, veer off in distraction or rebellion. God knows that we need the commandments and gives them to us a gift. See, these commandments aren’t to punish or restrict. They are to discipline…they are to lead us in a direction of relationship, connectedness and mutual respect and love for God and for others. They are to help us know and understand all that God has done for us. Family, possessions, life…these are all gifts from God for us to honor and use for the good of the Kingdom. But regardless of the many and various ways God shares them with us, we, the people, mess it up…because, my friends we are broken. We loose sight of what matters. We talk around it. We leave out Jesus.
So, God, being God, literally writes them on our hearts. This knowledge of belonging, of connectedness. This knowledge of God. God is doing the work. God is doing the writing and the revealing. God is doing to directing and caring. This doesn’t mean that life is like a Hallmark movie. What it does mean is that when life is a struggle, when we rebel or veer off course, when we feel lost or alone, we are not. God is there, always there, ever present and ever busy, for us, with us.
God of Love, you never give up on us. You go all the way to our hearts to care for us, forgive us, teach us and love us. You never leave us alone and for that we are thankful. During this Christmas season, may we experience the great joy of having you written on our hearts. May we draw closer to that connectedness and may it fill us with your great joy. Amen
What do you need for Christmas to be Christmas? Share with a friend or in the comments below.
About Mitzie…Mitzie Schafer is a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master of Art in Religion from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a concentration in Christian Education and Christian Spirituality. She has been writing curriculum and teaching faith formation for more than ten years. Mitzie’s faith is grounded in the belief that God is the initiator and we are the respondent. That God’s yes is always bigger than our no. That being created in the image of the Creator, makes us by our very nature, creative. And that God LOVES ALL people.
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