Today is Wednesday, December 13th
Light two purple candles.
Yesterday was about favorite traditions. But what’s your least favorite Christmas tradition?
Or, do you remember a Christmas that felt like a disaster?
Read Genesis 3:1-15
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” And he said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The Lord God said to the serpent,
“Because you have done this,
cursed are you above all livestock
and above all beasts of the field;
on your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring;
he shall bruise your head,
and you shall bruise his heel.” [ESV]
To You O Lord we bring our lives
Troubled, broken or at ease
A sacrificial offering for You to use
Take away our selfishness and teach us to love as You loved
Take away our sense of pride and show us the meaning of humility
Take away our blindness and show us the world through Your eyes
Take away our greed and teach us how to give as You gave
Show us Your ways, teach us Your paths
That we might walk with You more closely
Our hand in Your hand, our feet in Your footsteps
From the baby in a stable to eternity, Amen
Personalize it. How can your thoughts and these readings and prayers help you worship fully, give more, spend less and love all.
My name is Allan Skinner. I worship at CSP.
Most of you probably don't know that for many years I have struggled to find joy during the Christmas (actually advent) season. It was a much bigger problem than I let on. I was filled with anxiety about who do I give gifts to? what do I get them? The traffic, the crowds, the expense! The whole thing just seemed like a big hassle. And to make matters worse, I felt guilty for feeling this way. I knew that Christmas isn't really about all that stuff but it got to me anyway.
Every year, usually late Christmas eve or early Christmas morning, in a quiet moment I would finally be able say, "ahhhh, there it is! This is what it's supposed to be like." Then I would tell myself that next year will be different, but it would happen all over again.
Last Christmas was the first since my wife, Terri, died. I doubt if anyone would have blamed me if I decided to just skip the whole thing. But the idea of the Advent Conspiracy and it's guiding principles got my attention and The Lord kept giving me ideas for unique gifts for the handful of people closest to me. They were simple and inexpensive. Some are things Terri and I had in our house for years. Each one uniquely special to the one who received it.
I actually enjoyed preparing for Christmas morning! Best of all were the stockings filled with cheap, silly stuff. Filling the stockings is what Terri loved most. We laughed about how we could always count on getting pocket warmers and some kind of little flashlight amid the candy and nuts. And there was always an orange in the toe.
So what could have been "THE WORST CHRISTMAS EVER!" turned out to be something beautiful and sweet that I will remember with fondness.