Christmas Devotion

Count on God to Provide the Interruption

Christmas Devotion
Teenager working on a Vacation Bible School craft in Central Asia.

Sometimes the Advent to Christmas journey feels like we are racing toward the manger. There are always things to be done in this beautiful season: Christmas gifts and cards to give, parties to attend, special meals to prepare, traveling, hosting guests and participating in special music and worship moments at church. The days that lead up to December 25 can be packed with activity of all sorts.

Often preachers and writers urge us not to be so caught up in the busy-ness that we miss the moments of peace and joy that are also a part of this season. Undoubtedly this is well and good. But still we find ourselves being consumed with the “work” of Christmas.

So I take some comfort in the fact that the Christmas story is a narrative of interruption. God interrupted the lives of Zachariah and Elizabeth and announced the coming birth of a prophet. God interrupted the busy-ness of life in Nazareth for Mary and Joseph. God interrupted the study of the Magi and called them on a journey. God interrupted the shepherds and sent them to Bethlehem and God interrupted the craziness of a town full to bursting during a census with the birth of Jesus.

The stories of Christmas are stories of big, significant, visible interruptions of patterns and responsibilities that must have seemed every bit as pressing to the people involved as ours do to us. I don’t think we need to worry about missing a God-sized interruption, even in the extra-busy season of Christmas.

Remember also that the stories we have of God’s powerful work are not from journals or the daily news reports of the events. The accounts we have were written years later, after reflection and decisions and action made plain the significance of Jesus’ birth.

Perhaps this is the challenge for us – not that we tiptoe through the busy-ness of the season, but that we remember the interruptions, when God got our attention, and act on them. If we see unexpected beauty in some way reflecting the Biblical story, are we called to study or to write or sing or dance to live the truth of God’s transforming presence? Are we so touched by the vision of God’s will that the angels sang of and toward which all of creation is yearning that we are moved to change how we live and serve others? Are we so emboldened by the witness of unlikely people (marginalized farm workers, an elderly man or woman, a teen mother and her worried fianc√©) who said “yes” to God’s outrageous invitation that we must also act and advocate for God’s vision of love, righteousness and abundance?

May our reflections on this season and the interruptions in which we have seen God take root in our hearts and souls so that we too end up saying ‘yes” to God’s none-too-quiet call to change our hearts and lives. May Christ truly be born in us today and may we honor this gift of love from the God who interrupts.

Harriett Jane Olson is the general secretary and CEO of United Methodist Women.


Posted or updated: 12/25/2016 11:00:00 PM

Advent Candles

Give Thanks. Give Now.

From the 2016 Prayer Calendar:


Isaiah 9:2-7
Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

Mission Focus:

Zimbabwe: St. John’s Chikanga and Nyadire United Methodist Church Deaf Ministry: Raising awareness on the importance of sign language.

Testimony for December 25:

He looked at me and asked if he was really worthy and welcome to receive communion. I shared that in our tradition ALL are welcome at the table. He turned around and walked up to the communion table and received communion for the first time in many years. Each day I enter into a sacred story with the communities, congregations and clergy I serve, it is a privilege.
-Darlene DiDomineck, deaconess, Eastern Pennsylvania Conference

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