Believe the Blessing
By Deb Crowley of Charlotte, MI, USA
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. —Luke 1:46–50 NRSV
Our family of nine crowded into the two-bedroom home in rural Missouri, where the winter was icy and cold. As winds howled outside poorly insulated walls, the old, pot-bellied stove struggled to keep us from freezing. Christmas would be bleak this year.
Christmas morning arrived. Gifts under the tree were sparse. Each package contained a warm flannel quilt to cover shared beds—quilts mother had spent hours piecing and sewing together. My 8-year-old’s heart crushed with disappointment. It seemed so unfair that mother could not have squeezed out one dollar to buy the only gift I wanted. I understood the practicality of quilts that would keep us warm during the harsh winter, but…
Looking back, I regret the anger harbored against my mother. Her love looked beyond immediate gratification. She provided what was needed for all of her children, rather than what was selfishly sought by one. Her love and the quilts blessed us with warmth for many winters.
Jesus’ life as servant, rabble-rouser, and imitator of God was not what the people of the day expected or wanted to provide immediate relief from government oppression! Fortunately, the God of love understood the greater need. The blessing of a babe in the manger was exactly what the world needed. It is the love still needed in the world. May you find love, wrapped in warm swaddling clothes, to be your deepest blessing this Christmas.
Prayer for Peace
God who blesses us from generation to generation, we praise you for your gift of love and peace.
Spiritual Practice: Advent—Love
Reflect on the love of God. How is it that God sent Christ to be “all our loves exceeding?” How do you see God’s love revealed in Christ? How do you reveal God’s love in your own life? Think of ways you can express that love as you prepare for the Son of God—love’s pure light. Thank God for the ultimate gift of love: Jesus Christ.
Today, God, I will see beyond individual gifts and consider what will bless many.