Sunday, December 11, 2011

Nothing Can Take the Joy of Christmas Away

This is my devotional which appeared in the Upper Room Devotional Book today. May you and your family have a hopeful and expectant Advent.

To read it in the Upper Room, see the Upper Room Devotional Website.

Third Sunday of Advent
Read: Luke 1:46-55

A couple of weeks before her last Christmas, my mother announced during prayer time in worship, "Even though I have been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer and the prognosis is not very good, I want everybody to know that nothing can take away the joy of my Christmas!" Her courageous words are etched in my memory.

Reading Mary's Magnificat each year reminds me that no matter what happens, our lives are part of a bigger picture. Pregnant and unmarried, Mary would have to make a long, uncomfortable trek to Bethlehem on a donkey's back and finally give birth to her son in a barn. Yet after the angel's words, Mary sang--because she knew God was doing something. In spite of her situation, she realized that she was privileged to be part of a larger movement of God's mercy from generation to generation.

Claiming Mary's spirituality as well as my mom's would mean that no matter what happens to us, we can sing. When we keep our eyes on God, nothing can steal the joy of Christmas.

Stephen P. West (Alabama, USA)

Prayer: Gracious Lord, even when we are aware of life's struggles during the holidays, may we find that they are indeed holy days. Let nothing distract us from the joy that the Incarnation brings. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Prayer focus: Those living with cancer