First Sunday of Advent
Author: George Nye (Oregon, US)
It was Christmas week, and I had to lead the Christmas services. My 18-year-old son was supposed to go with me, but that night in his quiet hospital room I had learned that his broken neck had developed an infection, and that his quadriplegia was permanent. When Christmas carol singers came down the hall singing, ‘We wish you a merry Christmas!’ and ‘Deck the halls with boughs of holly’, I closed the door. How could any grieving person celebrate Christmas with such cheery songs?
Later, I stood at the dark window staring through the fog at the dim, coloured lights across the way. Then I felt God saying to me, ‘On that first Christmas there were no pretty lights adorning the streets of Bethlehem, no carol singers on the roads, no pretty presents around the stable. In the midst of a world of so much darkness and despair, your Saviour came as a helpless baby in a manger, to love you back to wholeness.’
The prophet Micah wrote, ‘You, O Bethlehem… are only a small village… Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you’ (Micah 5:1–2, NLT). That ruler—Christ the Lord—will save his people. Christmas is for those who have no joy and no home—for all those who have lost their way. Surely that Christmas was for my son and me.
Prayer: Holy God, bless us and comfort us according to our need. Amen