Meditating on Joy: December 20

By Becky Ahlberg

For many, especially church leaders, Christmas is more chaos than celebration. Besides the extra programs and parties, family responsibilities and expectations also expand. These short meditations (which started December 6 and will continue with a new, early morning post each day through January 1) are designed with leaders in mind. Take a few minutes each day to ponder these thoughts designed to help you find the wonder of the incarnation in the midst of your responsibilities.

Advent is simply a time to prepare for the celebration of Christ’s birth. In liturgical settings, Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas and centers around these four concepts: hope, peace, joy, and love. For our purposes, we are focusing on those four words, but we started on the first Sunday of December and will finish on New Year’s Day. 

May your holidays be blessed as you celebrate God’s gift to you while you give of yourself to others.

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12_Devotions13Sunday, December 20

Today there will be people in your services who come only at this time of year. Perhaps it is part of their family tradition or it just seems right, but they come. What will they leave with today? Guilt, a sense of isolation, boredom, rolling eyes and shaking heads?

Let’s resist the temptation to give them the scriptural fire hose in one great burst—even if we think it might be our only shot! Could we make this year’s Christmas experience one of joy? Not just laughter or warm fuzzy stories or little Christmas vignettes about “the true meaning of Christmas,” but a little glimpse of the joy of the Lord?

Can we come together out of the sheer joy of belonging to God and to each other because Jesus made it possible for us in his birth and life? Can we sing with abandon and hug with delight and take Communion in wonder and model for our guests that there isn’t any place we’d rather be than together, worshipping, and telling God how grateful we are that he loved us first?

Joy is infectious. Pray that we spread it to everyone we meet today!

Becky Ahlberg serves as executive director of My Safe Harbor in Anaheim, California.

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