Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and Advent...two things you don't usually see together. But several years ago while Don was deployed during the holidays I was asked to write an Advent devotional for a booklet that was being created in the church where I grew up.
Those of you who know me in person know that I am quick with the sarcasm and comedy, but my faith is something I hold very close and sharing it publicly isn't one of my strengths. Allowed to pick the date of my choosing I selected December 7th, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, which that year also happened to be the second Sunday in Advent. I figured with the military theme I was sure to be inspired, but what poured out on the page surprised me. I have kept that Advent Devotional with me through three moves and five more deployments - and discovered it again this weekend as I was unpacking our Christmas decorations, so I share it with you here.
Thinking of all the military families who will have an empty seat at their table this season...
There is nothing love cannot face; there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance. Love will never come to an end. -I Corinthians 13:7-8
It is funny what it takes for some people to fully understand God's love. I grew up in church, this church in fact. I was confirmed at Grace, volunteered at Grace, worked at Grace, got married at Grace. But once I moved away and Don and I got wrapped up in our everyday lives we didn't make the time to go to church, and - to be honest, I didn't think much about God. I still said my prayers every night and came to church when I was visiting my folks, but that was it...until I sent Don off to war. It has been hard. I miss him, I'm scared for him, and there are many people in this world who don't believe in what he is doing. But we love this country so much that he is willing to sacrifice everything for its people, and I am willing to give it my most precious gift - my husband. God loves us SO MUCH that he gave his only begotten son to a world where many people STILL don't believe, in hopes that we might know forgiveness, eternal life, and the true love of Christ. Does that make me like God or Don like Jesus? Of course not. But now I have a real, tangible idea of how much God loves me - loves all of us. Now I understand how powerful that depth of love is - and I am awed by it, I am humbled by it, but most of all, I am blessed by it. We all are!
Dear God, Help us to feel your love for us always. In our joys let us feel your glory, in our sorrows let us feel your comfort. Thank you for being our strength and our salvation. Amen.