Today’s Devotional is offered by Julie Earnhardt.
I am a kindergarten teacher, so of course, I love snow!
Not just a dusting…I love the big fat flakes that completely cover the ground and don’t leave anyone wondering whether school will be in session for the next several days.
But snow in Oxford, North Carolina in December? We do not have time to fit that in before Christmas. We have gifts to buy, decorating to be done, festivities planned, services to prepare for, and advent activities to attend. Besides, snow of any significance this time of the year is so rare and unexpected that we should be in the clear.
Then. It. Happened.
A beautiful, deep blanket of snow. The kind that shuts down an entire small southern town. Roads are closed, the power is flickering, and the church services are definitely canceled!!! As beautiful as the twinkling Christmas lights are peaking through the ice-covered trees, a sense of “not now” keeps ringing in my head. Not now…it’s too early! There’s too much to do right now. Can’t this snow just hold off until Christmas Eve, or even better, after Christmas in January? Advent is the season to prepare. We can’t prepare if we are stuck at home!
Eventually, it hit me. It’s not our timing, but God’s.
He provided the perfect, unexpected time for us to prepare.
Time to prepare our hearts.
Time to prepare our minds.
Time to prepare ourselves.
And do you really think Mary and Joseph thought God picked the perfect time for them to have a baby?
Psalms 46:10 says, “Be still and know that I am God!” Do we honestly take the time to be still? Do we take the time to feel God throughout this season? Do we stop and trust God’s timing? Often we get so wrapped up in creating the perfect Christmas that we actually miss much of the joy God intended for us to experience along the way.
Advent is a time of expectant waiting. Waiting is not something that many of us do well. We have been told the Christmas story many times that most of us know the amazing gift God is about to deliver. But at the same time, we needed God to force us into a period of slowing down to savor the season. Real joy can be ours if we take the time to experience all that is around us. The quiet can often provide the perfect opportunity to absorb the sights and sounds we often overlook. It gives us a chance to take in the real, raw emotions we often mask during busyness. Just as that quiet stable provided unexpected joy so many, many years ago, that same unexpected quiet can provide us the same joy today if we open our hearts and allow it. When we realize it’s not about adding one more thing to our already packed schedules but experiencing the best thing this season-which is time and space for Jesus, our hearts can receive the real joy of Christmas.
I pray that you can appreciate the anticipation of God’s timing this Christmas and experience the real joy this season has to offer!
God be with me this season and always. Help me to be still and quiet, but most importantly help me to pause and reflect on your perfect timing. Help me know that joy can easily be found in the simple, small moments if I trust all that you have planned and prepared for me. Amen!