By Becky Ahlberg
For many, especially church leaders, the Christmas season 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.
Do you remember O. Henry’s story The Gift of the Magi? Jim and Della, dirt poor but determined to give the perfect gift to each other, end up in an ironic situation: both have sacrificed the very thing that prompted their perfect gift. Jim sold his beloved heirloom watch to buy jeweled hair combs for Della’s long and beautiful hair. Della sold her hair to buy a platinum chain for Jim’s watch. Because they do this out of love, what each one really gives the other is the greatest gift, the gift of love. Even in their poverty, they have discovered how very rich they are.
Read 1 John 4: 9, 10. How very rich we are. God, himself has given us the greatest gift, the gift of love. What shall we give him? Consider the final stanza in Christina Rossetti’s well-known poem, “In the Bleak Midwinter.”
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am? —
If I were a Shepherd
I would bring a lamb
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part,—
Yet what I can I give Him,—
Give my heart.
Becky Ahlberg serves as executive director of My Safe Harbor in Anaheim, California.