2021 Advent Devotions

Luke 2:1-20 | December 25, 2021

The Meaning of Christmas for Me
by Ed Pruden

Merry Christmas! The magic never fades!

This is my 71st Christmas. I have memories of the previous 69! My earliest Christmas memory is as a two-year-old, sitting in a little red rocking chair in my grandparents’ home in Chase City, Virginia, eating the cheese sandwich I had asked Santa Claus to bring. Subsequent Christmases have occurred in many places: usually wherever home was at that time of life or in the home of a dear relative. The place hasn’t been constant, and neither have been the people. Along the way I’ve lost grandparents, my brother, both parents, and other persons near and dear who were typically part of our celebration. And I’ve added new loved ones: my wife, our three children, two spouses, three grandchildren, extended family… Surely your experience is similar to mine.

Even so, the magic of Christmas abides across the generations regardless of place or family! It is the Hope that only Christmas can bring! The Hope for a world at peace, a world in which justice rolls down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream (Amos 5:24), in which hunger and poverty and strife are no more; a world in which all the people live in freedom, and care for each other and the earth. Such a vision seems impossible, naïve. The bubble bursts almost as soon as we pick up the daily paper. Even so, if we look closely for them, signs of The Kingdom can be seen! We are surrounded by Kingdom Moments when people behave in Christ-like ways! On our best days, even we create a Kingdom Moment or two!

My favorite description of a world at peace is found in Isaiah 11:6-9:

“The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. The cow and the bear shall graze, their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox. The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put its hand on the adder’s den. They will not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain; for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.”

Only through Christ can such a world come to be!

Jesus is born in Bethlehem!

Merry Christmas!