Advent Devotions 2017
Day Seventeen
December 19, 2017

For God so Loved the World

Don’t you love the music of Christmas? I have CDs of mixed Christmas songs; yes, I’m that “Old School.” I look forward to listening to the same ones year after year. Thinking about God’s love and promise for salvation, a song by Garth Brooks, The Gift, came to my mind. It’s the legend of a Christmas Eve miracle set in a small Mexican village.

A poor orphan girl named Maria was all alone, with no one and nothing! But, we know miracles happen and one day going to Market, she found a broken-winged bird. Maria could not leave the tiny creature to die!  She made a decision to sacrifice her few pesos and purchase a simple cage to keep the bird safe. Next, she began to gathered loose corn from the Market to feed the hurt bird. Slowly, with Maria’s love and care, the bird healed and grew strong.

Now Christmas Eve was coming. All the villagers had filled church with magnificent gifts. The alter was laden with packages fit for a king, with diamonds, and incense, and perfumes! What did Maria have to offer but a small brown bird in a ragged cage? But her heart overflowed with love for God and the gift of his son, Jesus. Stealthily, when she thought no one was watching, she put her only possession, her precious bird, on the alter. Slowly, she opened the cage door. Maria set her only friend free!

The tiny brown bird flew upward just as the Christmas midnight bells rang out. Both bells and birdsong spread joyously throughout the church. Then, God spoke to Maria, telling her that this special offering was lifted to Heaven.

No matter how often I hear The Gift sung, I tear up. My Gram used to say, “Tears are the Holy Spirit’s way of speaking to us.” I think she was right. I think God speaks in song and in so many everyday ways. These help me to understand the precious gift God gives so freely.

As The Message translates John 3:16,
This is how much God loved the world. He gave His Son, His one and only Son. And this is why, so no one need be destroyed; by believing in Him anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

Written by Georgia Mayo
Art by Kate