Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC

Thursday, December 15

By Steve Richardson

Timeless Joy

Read: 2 Corinthians 4:4-18

“For it is God who said, ‘Light will shine out of darkness,’ who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (v.6)

Odd as it seems, our modest, practically-generic rancher house now has an architectural designation. It was built in 1955, so it has become classified as a “Mid-Century Modern.” Such a label puts us right up there with “Victorian,” “Cape Cod,” “Williamsburg,” “Greek Revival” and others. Frankly, these other labels reflect more impressive aesthetic qualities, compared to “Mid-Century Modern” which hovers over a mundane point on a time spectrum. Yet whatever the descriptor or identity, we happily call it “home.”

Recently we undertook some interior renovation. The project included removal of long-ago laid wall-to-wall carpet, followed by restoration of the original oak flooring that had been shielded from view for literally decades. When the floor sanding began, I was amazed to sense the scent of freshly cut oak. It was as if the timber had just been milled! After 67 years, the oak’s distinctive aromatic profile was as fresh and vibrant as ever.

For a moment, I felt joy from this unexpected waft of nature along with seeing the surface and grain of the wood freed to resume its original purpose.

Later, it caused me to wonder: During these days of Advent, what might we discover if we could strip away (or at least strive to do so) the layers of really-not-so-important trappings of the holiday season? We all know of them —those many things that tend to obscure, hide or crowd-out Christmas’s spiritual core and character. Maybe there is a timeless joy to be found and experienced —the joy of the heavenly host, the joy made known to the shepherds, the joy made known to the magi, the joy of the authentic Christmas. Such joy must surely still be fresh and vibrant if we simply can uncover it and set it free to be experienced again.


Generous God, open our hearts and minds to receive, and then to share, the spiritual life-lifting gifts you graciously offer so that we may always know your timeless joy.

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