Daily Advent Devotions from Church Street UMC
Tuesday, December 21
By Laura Still
Old Stories, New Eyes
Read Luke 2:8-20, 40
Sometimes there are stories in the Bible that are almost too familiar. When we hear these verses read, we know them so well it’s hard not to think, “Oh, yeah, I know how this goes,” and let our brain go on automatic. The Christmas story in Luke could be one of these, because we read it in full or in part several times during Advent every year. It’s sad, but the story of the coming of the Christ Child can become something we don’t listen to very closely. We let the wonder of it fade.
I discovered a way to prevent this from happening to me about 30 years ago, when I volunteered to become part of the most important ministry at Church Street: Children’s Ministry. Readers may or may not agree with my assessment, but I challenge anyone to come up with a ministry that is more important to the future — and I don’t mean just the future of our church, but the whole church, even the planet itself. Some of the kids I first taught now have kids of their own, and are in leadership positions here at Church Street and the world outside. Being a small part of their upbringing is an honor and a responsibility I don’t take lightly. But as always, God has given me rewards beyond my imagining in return.
There is no way to become blasé about any part of the great story of God’s gift of his Son when you tell it to a new set of kids every year, looking at it through the eyes of shepherds, the Wise Men, or angels. The awe and wonder in the faces of children when they kneel at the manger, follow the star across the desert, or sing with the angels, cures any tendency to stop paying attention. When you are sharing any story of Jesus with a child who might be hearing or understanding it for the first time, the possibility of miraculous grace is very real.
I am blessed to have this opportunity, and I want more members of the church to have it. The Children’s ministry needs more participation by volunteers of all ages, whether they have children in the program or not. Even volunteering for one Sunday a month would be appreciated, and could be an unexpected channel of grace that recharges the soul.
Dear God, open my heart to the awe and wonder of your love, and help me find new eyes to see the old stories, hear the words with new understanding, and share them with all the world. In Christ’s name, Amen.