Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Sunday, December 17, Evening

By Katie Strangis, Director of Communications

Any Day but Today

Read: Luke 2:19

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Any day but today, I thought, when my water broke at 4 am. 

I knew she would arrive earlier than her due date, but I had tried to negotiate with God that it would be any day except September 11. So you can imagine my horror, surprise, and anger when my water unexpectedly broke five weeks before her due date and I had a big, beautiful baby girl during the morning rush hour, right around the time that first plane crashed into the World Trade Center 17 years earlier. 

But – as kids do – Evie has surprised me in so many ways since she was born and has made September 11 a day of hope. She knows nothing of the weight that day carries for so many, and thanks to the pure joy with which she moves through the world, she brings light and love on her birthday to everyone who knows her. September 11 has a new joyful – hopeful – feeling, and I don’t think of “where I was on September 11” in the same way anymore (my first-year college Poli Sci class in Decatur, Georgia, missing my family and scared). I think of what a difference her birth and her life are making and transforming how I view that particular day each year.

I wonder if Mary got to the stable and thought, Any day but today, or Anywhere but here. Perhaps. But – as kids do – Jesus went out and changed the world – her world – and filled it with love, joy and hope. All Mary had to do was watch with love and wonder. 

My favorite thing about Advent is this “thrill of hope” that we experience as parents of young kids, and I give thanks for the many ways our children thrill us with their hope. Kids don’t let us live in the past — they experience it all right now and cause us to hope for a better future because of their hope and wonder. Jesus’s birth should give all of us so much hope during Advent. We hope for his life, anticipate his death, and rejoice in his resurrection. And I’m grateful to feel that thrill each holiday season.


God of Hope, thank you for how you surprise us with your goodness and joy this Advent season. Let us look to our children for that thrill and the hope and love your birth ignited in the world. Amen.

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