Welcome to the Sunday Devotion. Here we are the day after Christmas Day. The cookie platter sits almost bare except for a couple of broken cookie pieces and some crumbs. The torn wrapping paper is scrunched into balls of various blurs of color, and there are stacks of new clothes and games in various corners of the room. Christmas is over. We can take a breath… Wait!! Christmas is not over – it has just begun!
I said, “Christmas has just begun,” and that might have confused many of you. Some have already begun to take down their Christmas tree. But that’s okay. I’m not talking about Christmas trees, wrapping paper, nor the Christmas dinner leftovers. We celebrated Jesus’ birth on Christmas day. But it was the beginning of Jesus’ life and we continue to celebrate God’s Christmas gift. We read and study. We worship. But most of all we continue to marvel in the reminder that God loves us so much that He came to be with us, live beside us, and walk the journey of human life with us. “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.”(Matthew 1:23) Do you feel God is with you? When are those feelings the strongest? When are those feeling the weakest?
The scripture in today’s worship lectionary is about Jesus going to the temple with his mother and his father. Mary and Joseph left the temple and were making their way home when they realized Jesus was not with them. They thought Jesus had met up with family to begin the journey home, so they were concerned when they realized after a day of travel that Jesus was missing. Yes, they found Jesus back at the temple, having a conversation with the teachers. But Jesus had been missing.
Have you ever found Jesus missing in your life? Did you keep him near on Christmas day? Now that Christmas Day is past, will Jesus go missing in your life like he went missing in Jerusalem?
Life is complicated and changing away from what we considered an inevitable routine. We have to work hard to take care of our families and keep them safe and healthy. Jobs are challenging and stressful. But doing it without God is so much harder. The peace, comfort and strength of God offers a strong foundation on which we can build not just our life but our lives together in community.
Don’t “lose Jesus”. Keep him close. Find the best path for you that keeps Jesus in your life and in your community.
Dear God. We come in remembrance and thankfulness for your great gift of Jesus, your son, and the spirit of love that is reborn in this Christmas time. May we keep that spirit of love vibrant as we move ahead each day. May we not lose Jesus in the crowds, in the workplace and in our hearts. Instead, let us walk together, work together and live in constant companionship. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Author: Bonnie Barber
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Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.