Advent Devotion 13

Dec. 9, 2022

This season is a time to Seek Christ. It is a time to prepare for the celebration of Christmas so we think about why we even have this holiday marking the birth of a baby over 2000 years ago in a foreign land. Why would this matter to us? It matters to us because we feel that the life and ministry of Jesus show us the fullest human expression of Divine Love. The Christ.

But maybe there are those days when we wonder. Is this anything? Does this really mean anything? Does it make any difference? We still see people around us doing terrible things. We still find ourselves beset with scary thoughts. Life seems like a struggle for many, many people and it appears to be getting worse.

Maybe this Christmas thing is just a capitalist, consumerist Santa scheme that feeds the global corporate world? Of course if you think that, then you probably are not reading this devotion!

I had a kind of crazy experience while I was buying something on line recently. You know these shopping websites often invite you to engage in a chat as you are selecting your purchases. A little box pops up. In the box appears a message like, “How can I help today?“ or “Do you have any questions?” I tend to find these chat boxes annoying.

Well, I was looking into purchasing some shoes from a website. The company is based in Spain though I was on an English version of the website. I mention Spain because to me, as an American, having spent considerable time in Spain, some of the things that go on in Spain are strange and inscrutable. And that is one of the things we love about Spain. So, as I was looking to make a purchase from a Spanish company on an American website, the little chat box popped up. Oh that. I thought, let me see how to close that and get rid of it. It was then that I noticed the message in the chat box. I am telling you, this really happened. Right there in the chat box was a message from David: “Hi! Can I help you with your doubt?”

Right there in the process of buying a pair of shoes, I was confronted with an existential question of moral/religious/philosophical import. Can I help you with your doubt? Well, I would like a lot of help with my doubt, thank you very much. Especially at this time of year. Certain things floor me. Like the destitution around us. Why are there so many poor people in such a rich country? And another thing. I am stunned by the generosity that we see this time of year. People helping others. Donating things. Supporting nonprofits doing important work like the church. There is an incredible outpouring this time of year. But then I have to wonder, why only at Christmas? Why isn’t this going on all year long? Why isn’t this incredible generosity manifesting as justice, which might then eliminate much of the pressing need? Can things really change? David wanted to help me with my doubt. I didn’t know where to begin.

If there is a deeper, spiritual, Christian, meaning to Christmas, if it is really about the Christ, then why are there these problems? So, I have my doubts about Christmas. And many other things.

What really soothes my soul is Love. If I choose to look for the love that is happening all around me, that calms my doubts and fears. If I think back to the many expressions of love and kindness that have graced the living of our days, it is remarkable. People are doing good, kind, nice, helpful, generous things for others all of the time. And it is beautiful. And it is remarkable.

Can I help you with your doubt? That is something we all need from time to time. And one way to respond is to look for love – everywhere, anywhere, in yourself, in others, in the beauty of nature. Look for the love. And there is plenty of it to see especially this time of year!

Prayer

May we be people of love. May we give and receive love freely. And may that help us to live with our doubts. Amen.

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