2011 Advent Devotion- Saturday, December 24

Saturday, December 24                                    
Matthew 1:20b

The birth story of Jesus is a beautiful declaration of God’s power. The contrast between struggle and surprise is evident. We read about the burden placed upon a teenage mother who is in the engagement process of marriage to an older man named Joseph. Can’t you hear the criticism, in a culture that forbade such a sexual union before the marriage proper? The dreams of her parents that she will live her life through the proper stages of development—first marriage and then the baby—are now shattered. Joseph is also struggling.

This story represents the paradoxical liturgical season we are celebrating. Today, some person is celebrating a new job while others are still unemployed and struggling to feed their families. Some congregations are preparing for tonight’s worship in adorned sanctuaries, while Christians in war-torn countries are worshipping in hiding places. Someone is recapturing stories of the past years with friends and family. Death and divorce will cause some to be alone this season.

While we encounter both the joy and pain of this time of the year, let us remember to listen for the Holy Spirit. Let us embrace the message of true fellowship with God and one another that makes our lives complete. Someone needs to know you care today.

Lord God, may our hearts remember and embrace the substance of your love this day. May we comfort someone who needs your presence. Enable us to follow your Holy Spirit through our own struggles. Amen.

Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, Director, PC(USA) Office of Public Witness
Washington, District of Columbia

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