Pastor Sally’s Devotional 11/21

Dear Friends,

My husband and I put up our Christmas Tree today!  I know most of you will think that’s too early.  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet.  In fact, Mike and I have never put up our tree this early, but I wanted something festive for the first Sunday of Advent when I film the Bridge@Home and since I will be filming First Advent this coming week, I decided the tree would need to get up this weekend.

In actuality, I recommend beginning the Advent/Christmas season early.  At least I found it very comforting to do something so normal and so hopeful as putting up our tree.  It was a tangible sign that Christmas really will come this year as it always does, even if things are a little different.  Part of what was different this year was that our youngest son Terry was not home to help decorate the tree.  Terry loves helping with the tree, so we usually do it with him when he visits over Thanksgiving weekend.  And yet, we managed to figure out a way for Terry to join us.  He zoomed in when it was time to hang the decorations.  I had sent him a one foot wooden tree with miniature wooden decorations.  Terry decorated his little tree in Minnesota, and kibitzed with us while we decorated the large family tree here in Indiana.  We had a delightful afternoon.

In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses prepares to say goodbye to the children of Israel and to entrust them in Joshua’s care as they enter the promised land.  He says to Joshua, ”The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deut 31: 8.  Then we are told Moses wrote down all the words God had given him – the Torah, and Moses put it in the Ark of the Covenant to go with the children of Israel.  There were other things in that ark: two tablets of stone, some old bits of manna and Moses’s staff.  All of these things reminded the people of their history with the Lord.  They were reminders of God’s promise to go with them and to never leave them.  They were to help summon the people to courage.

I’m glad we are coming into the Advent/Christmas season.  There are so many familiar things we say and do that evoke strong memories.  Some of those memories point to family and friends and past Christmases.  But for me, these familiar sights and sounds point to the incarnation of God which we celebrate in this coming season.  Incarnation means God is with us and will not leave or forsake us.  In this difficult days in our country, I think we can’t get to this message fast enough.  And we need to say it again and again this entire season and savor it’s message.  God is with us.  Do not be afraid.

Peace,

Pr. Sally


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