Twelve days of Christmas Devotional for December 28th
December 28this my mother’s birthday. As I finalize this devotional a few days before Christmas, my mom has been admitted into the hospital for a condition she has been struggling with for some time. At this point, we are not sure if she will be in the hospital for Christmas or even for her birthday. Obviously, this is difficult, but it’s fascinating to see that as she lays there in that hospital bed, visibly uncomfortable, being medicated through IV bags, with nursing staff making their regular vital sign checks, and family members huddled in the room, my mother is still being the loving mother she has always been—taking care of everyone else around her.
My mom was trying to get my sister, who had been there all day, to lay back in a chair to take a nap. When my brother in law, my sister’s husband, arrived after work, she was insisting that he put his feet up to relax a bit. Though she can be resistant to going to the hospital, she went this time because my other sister who is a elementary school teacher held her Christmas play the day she was admitted and my mother did not want my sister to worry. Mom was worried about me not getting on the highway for the two hour drive from Victoria after the end of my busy workday. The even though she was feeling miserable, she was her usual courteous self with the nursing staff, giving them her characteristic glowing smile and thanking them for helping her. It was amazing to behold. I had to break out of the deep admiration and affection for her loving countenance that I have known in her all of my life to remind her saying, “mom, we know you care for us, but we are all here to care for you”. My efforts were in vain. Because as soon as I finished talking, without responding to my comment, she asked me, “how has your day been.” My mom loved us in her pain and suffering in the same way that she had done for our entire lives despite her sacrifices and hardships necessary to give us life.
My mom’s love, despite her personal suffering, has helped to greatly shape my sense of God’s love through the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Despite a modest and meager birth in a feeding trough located in a barn, regardless of a lifetime and ministry of enduring personal scrutiny, doubt and rejection, and even after having been subjected to a brutal and agonizing crucifixion, and with little concern for his personal suffering—Jesus cared enough for the very people who were crucifying him to pray for them and ask God to “forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” I believe that the love that our God demonstrated for us through Christ’s sacrifice offers a tremendous example of what love is all about. It represents “Agape” or “other-directed” love that so many people in our families, neighborhoods, communities and towns, and world are in such desperate need of. Caring for others out of our misfortunes may in some ways it may seem slightly reckless, and perhaps we should be sure that our wounds are being attended to while doing so. But for the greater good, may we still be able to overcome our pains and hardships just enough to share love in the most needed ways that gives life and affirmation to others just as Christ and others have done for us.
Scripture for Reflection: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life”. John 3:16
Devotional Prayer: Gracious God, it is sometimes so hard to demonstrate love for when we ourselves are hurting or in pain. But to do so can be one of the most life-giving things we can do for another person in this often bitter and lonely world. Grant us grace and strength share this love in the example of Christ’s love and that of those who have loved us, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Submitted by: Rev. Dr. Marcus Freeman, District Superintendent