Advent Devotions are here again!

The youth were decorating Messiah’s Christmas tree on Sunday morning. I could probably blog about that experience for all 25 days leading to Christmas, but I’ll spare them. Instead I want to focus on one conversation related to the decorations on the tree. There are your traditional lights, garland, and colored ornaments; but in addition, Messiah has these handmade stars. Each star is made of white cardboard and decorated with some glitter. Each has a single word written in the center.   The words are things like “JOY!” “PEACE!” “GENTLENESS!” and “LOVE!”

Everything was fine until someone came across a star labeled “SELF-CONTROL!” “What is THAT doing on a Christmas Tree?” Love, joy, and peace make so much more sense to be connected with Christmas, but Self-control? How does that fit? The conversation quickly went from the Fruit of the Spirit to the Fruit of the month club to a discussion of metaphors and similes to a broken ornament and someone quoting Romeo and Juliet lines from the top of a ladder before I got out of there and let the other pastor oversee the decoration process.

It quickly struck me that I had no idea why the Fruit of the Spirit were ever written on star ornaments and placed on the Christmas tree, and at the same time it hit me that maybe the Fruit of the Spirit were exactly the things that our society needs during the seasons of Advent and Christmas! Self-control? That is EXACTLY what we need today.

I also began to make other kinds of connections in my mind to see if we could really ring out a month’s worth of thoughts on just two verses from Galatians 5:22-23. Fruit baskets, love/joy/peace, people fighting for the last HDTV on the shelf, family Christmas parties, seasonal blues, Deck the Halls, and so many more interesting ideas are ready to spill out onto the digital pages of this blog over the next month! I hope you’ll join us for a short devotion each day, and take some time to reflect on the Fruit of the Spirit as you see His work in your lives this Holy season.

The discussion began because someone was willing to ask a question about why we were doing what we were doing. Thanks for asking the question so that we can mine the Fruit of the Spirit for connections to Christmas as we prepare our hearts to make room for the Christ child once more this year. It will probably take a little Self-control to keep us from filling our lives so full this season that we squeeze out the most important part. So let’s start there: Self-Control. Can you think of a place in the biblical Christmas account where someone sees God produce the fruit of self-control in them?

Lord, Jesus Christ, we look forward to your coming.  Give us self-control as we wait so that we always look to you as the one who provides for and satisfies all of our needs.  Amen.

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