Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Saturday, December 18, Morning

By Sue Isbell

Filling the Void

Read Psalm 46:10

“Be still and know that I am God.” 

I miss Walk Through Bethlehem. For eighteen of the twenty-three years that I worked at Church Street, recreating the village of Bethlehem consumed most of my Advent season. The December of my retirement year I found myself at loose ends: there was no Bethlehem to construct, there was no Family Christmas Eve Service to plan, no Advent Craft Festival or Christmas Pageant to co-coordinate. How in the world would I fill the time with none of those events I had worked so hard to produce for so many years?

Thanksgiving rolled around, and I found myself enjoying the extra time I had to decorate my holiday trees instead of working on church crafts. A calm December now allowed time to make gingerbread houses with my grandchildren instead of baking Bethlehem bread. Instead of hanging lights in Parish Hall, I now had time to figure out exterior illumination for our house and yard. I still missed the activities of years past, but I was quickly finding that celebrating Christmas was really more feeling the spirit than doing the activities.

Christmas will be different this year. We may not get to participate in the church and community activities that we consider personal and family traditions. No Fantasy of Trees, no Nativity Pageant, and no worship the way we have always done it. It might make us sad and it might feel strange, but remember: it is just one year. Instead of lamenting the void, challenge yourself to embrace the difference, to see a part of Christmas that you have never seen before, to slow down and feel in your heart the miracle of Bethlehem and how the birth of that one tiny baby still reminds us that even in the darkest times, there is hope for all the world.


God of all the world, help us find a stillness in this season so that we might feel the true joy of Christmas and the hope it brings us every day. Amen.

This devotion was written in honor of the Hospitality Committee. 

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