[#pictureAdvent] December 19: LOVE

15 Dec 17 Baptism-01.jpg

By Rev. Bethany Douty
Senior Pastor of Chaires United Methodist Church
Writer’s city and state: Tallahassee, FL

First, read Psalm 89:1-4

Six days left until Christmas — the day we celebrate God’s love coming to us in human form as Jesus! Depending on what is going on in your life, that might also mean six very stressful days are ahead of you. The holidays can be stressful for different generations for different reasons:

  • Children, being out of school, have their usual routine changed. And everyone offers them sugary snacks, but still expects them to behave like perfect angels.
  • Parents with young children may find that the people who gave their kids sugary snacks are the same people who offer unsolicited advice on how to properly parent the sugar-high children.
  • Young people without children often feel pressure to have children during this time of year… whether they want to or not… whether they are able to or not. Family gatherings can be as painful as they are joyful.
  • People with aging parents may find that their schedules, medicines, and particular needs can add to the chaos. 
  • Parties and family dinners can be difficult to navigate for everyone. Our society seems intent on communicating through “zingers” intended to cripple those with whom we disagree. Zingers make for great sitcoms, but horrible relationships.

Even with all those stressors, I’m sure that I’ve left many out. This is a busy time of year.

Our psalm today reminds us of God’s love and faithfulness throughout time. God promised David descendants who would sit on the throne, and God kept that promise. Christ was the culmination of that promise, a son of David who would sit on the throne in heaven. 

Regardless of what stresses might be coming your way in the next six days, remember to take some time to simply sit and enjoy the moment. Anticipate the coming of Christ. Remember the promises that God made over the millennia, and how those promises were answered in the most unexpected way: a small and vulnerable child.

Take a moment today and allow God to speak to you in unexpected ways. Address the tasks you need to still accomplish, but try to let the stress fall away. Remember God’s faithfulness today.

Prayer: Almighty God, thank you for your love and faithfulness. Throughout time you have followed humanity through our ups and downs, and you have loved us always. Help me to share about your faithfulness to the generations around me. Help me to see your faithfulness even in the midst of stressful times. And help me to recognize you when you show up in ways I don’t expect. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

1. Who will you be around during the next few days and what will their stresses be?
2. What kinds of stress will you be experiencing?
3. What can you do to honor God’s love and faithfulness each day in your own life and the lives of those you will encounter?