December 9, 2020

It would be hard to sit down to compose a devotion in December without thinking of the purity of oneness that comes with the birth of a child, especially after the recent, charming Zoom gathering where we welcomed two new babies into our church family. I have always liked the saying “A baby is God’s promise that the world should continue.” Babies are a promise of new beginnings as we bid adieu to 2020 (Will we miss it?) and greet the coming new year with possibilities, opportunities, imaginings, and mystery. As one writer has composed, “Family ties–beautiful ribbons fashioned into a bow to adorn one of life’s most cherished gifts.”

Of course, we shall be greeting the new year from our homes. We can choose whether we see those homes as traps, confinements, limits, or as (oh, do choose THIS frame on the picture!) safe havens from which to bloom, appreciate, and delight in life. Happiness grows by our own firesides. As George Simmel wrote, “The home is an aspect of life, and at the same time a special way of forming, reflecting, and inter-relating the totality of life.” We may choose to let the world into our homes though our computers. The world really is at our fingertips these days, and we can virtually travel to places near and far.

May we make wise choices how we utilize our time in the coming days, months, and years. We may want to pray for support in making the best choices for ourselves. Some of us may choose to limit our media exposure. If so, instead of labeling the passage of time in this state as “boredom,” perhaps we can envision it as a time to become a part of stillness, embrace the simplicity, and know that God is with us on our journey. Others may wish to embrace the virtual world a bit more. During this time when we cannot be together in person, we can certainly feel gratitude that we still have choices about how and when we may choose to be in community with one another.

By the way, did you remember to be grateful at Thanksgiving for decreasing your carbon footprint this year by reducing travel and staying at home sweet home? If the notion had not occurred to you, you can still give gratitude for it now! The Christmas holiday will most certainly be different this year with our Zoom gatherings and our limited physical hugs. With so much ongoing uncertainty and change, perhaps it is better to picture ourselves as pioneers who are inventively carving a new path forward as we conclude 2020 and bravely enter 2021. What will we treasure and keep from the past, and what baggage will we release as it no longer serves us well?

Approaching the unknown can be scary, but as we stay open to the fact that maybe, just maybe, there are favorable surprises waiting for us in the future, fear need not take over our lives. When we gaze with childlike eyes at the unopened presents under the tree, we can view the unknown with anticipation, acceptance, curiosity, wonder, and mirth.

We stay awake here, in this place, for this moment, this hour, this time as we reach to the future, through the now. After all, as I recently heard it stated, “This is as God as it gets.”