Advent 2021

Witness: Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Witness: Lyn Lang

Scripture: Numbers 6:24-26

Weekly Theme: Joy

I grew up in a small farming village in northern Maryland, and our little brick home was across the road from the tiny United Methodist Church.  It was there that I was baptized and confirmed and attended church every Sunday with my mother and father, and two brothers.  

My dad was a powerful influence on my Christian upbringing.  His rich baritone voice was vital to the choir; he was steadfast in the insistence that we attend Sunday school and church; he devoted his time and energy to helping and supporting others in every way he could. He walked the walk. He set the example.  And we loved everything about him.  Dad’s favorite season was Christmas.  We loved decorating our house with holly and greens from the trees Dad had planted in our yard.  The crimson of the berries made a lovely contrast with the deep pine green of the leaves, and he placed them on our mantle with candles carefully arranged by Mom.  He put Christmas music on our stereo, and we sang songs in harmony as we decorated our tree. And on Christmas Eve, we bundled up and walked across the road to our little stone church, warm with the camaraderie of beloved neighbors and friends and the spirit of the holiness of Christ’s birth.

In Dad’s later years, he became confused.  He wasn’t sure how to get home.  He got lost delivering food to shut-ins.  He didn’t know why “that boy” hadn’t yet brought me home from a date – after all, it was 2:00 in the morning, and I should have been home! (I hadn’t lived at home for more than 20 years…) My mother calmly and patiently took care of him, but his confusion took its toll on her. Then, suddenly, three days before Christmas, 1994, my dad died while putting groceries in the car. 

The spirit of Christmas was gone. Christmas Eve was somber and sad for us that year, and I cried as our neighbors and friends sang Dad’s favorite Christmas hymn, “Joy to the World,” at church. My grief was profound and intense.

But as time went on and the fog of loss began to lift, I began to look back at my father’s extraordinary life and his Christian influence on my family and me. As the happy memories and personal peace resurfaced, I began to see how Christmas and my Dad’s life intersected.  The joy and miracle of the Messiah’s birth reflect the love of our Heavenly Father, in the same way, that the joy and miracle of my dad’s love is reflected in the way his children and grandchildren transport themselves in the world.  His earthly life and beliefs blessed us with the sure knowledge that Jesus is the one true Savior. Now, as Christmas approaches, I can once again sing joyfully and feel a peace that only our God, through Jesus Christ, can provide.

Joy to the world, and peace to all in this Holiest of seasons!

Daily Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, We thank you for the gift of your beloved Son. As the anniversary of His birth approaches, we ask for peace on Earth, for peace among neighbors, and peace in our families. Please heal the divisiveness in our world, and please bless the peacemakers. You are a mighty God, and may we learn to be content through you. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. What does Christmas mean to you? 
  2. How has the birth and life of Christ made your life better?
  3. What are ways to make the world a better place through Jesus Christ?

1 thought on “Witness: Tuesday, December 14, 2021”

  1. Thank you so much for your message. It was wonderful and helped me see the Joy in Christmas! Blessings and thanks.

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