Advent Devotionals: Thursday, December 18

Phil Quinn

Thursday, Third Week of Advent: Joy
December 18, 2014

Here are excerpts from a story written by Brooke Keith, about her experience as a child of being in her church outdoor Christmas Drama.  Apparently it included not only the birth of Christ, but also his death.  I hope it speaks to you:

As a child, I remember sitting for hours amongst the winter’s chill, beneath the starry skies, adorned in a long blue sheet, held up by an old rope belt, reciting the lines of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Three men hung on a cross directly in front of our eyes.  As I held the tiny baby, I felt so sad.  In fact, every year I dreaded the moment I would become Mary- not because of stage fright or because I had a crush on Joseph- but, because being on that outdoor stage broke my heart.
Holding that tiny baby, I watched as Jesus was lashed.  I watched as they placed the thorny crown upon His head.  I held my dolly tighter and tighter until I just thought my heart would burst in two, aching over the life of my friend.  In this moment I dwelled upon the words of the tiny angel (a three-year-old little girl with a crooked halo) who’s line was, “Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy.”
Well, I knew joy…and this didn’t seem to be it.  As Christ hung His head, I felt sad.  I felt guilt.  Here I held this innocent baby and moments later there…He hung.  It was so much for me to take in.  Somehow the greatest story of all seemed like the saddest as well.
Years later, as my own children played on the floor around the Christmas Tree at grandma’s house, I pulled out the video of our church play and watched as I played the part of Mary.  As the film rolled, I couldn’t help but cry.  I watched the tiny version of myself clinging to that old porcelain doll as Jesus died upon that cross.  It was there that I saw something I had never noticed before on that wintry outdoor stage.  As my eyes focused on that tiny dolly, Jesus (played by our youth minister) looked down at me- and smiled.
It was there, in that moment, I pictured that tiny little angel with the crooked halo saying, “Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy,” and I too smiled.  Because I realized the greatest part of the story was that everything my Savior went through for me was out of the purest love.  That smile said, “I didn’t do this because I had to.  I did this because I love you.”
Today, at the tip top of my Christmas tree, there is a little tiny handmade angel- yes, with a crooked halo on her golden head.  Every time I pass by her, I smile.  I remember the words of that little angel who taught me so much about the joy of Christmas when she said, “Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy”.  I remember them because you know what?”  She did.

“Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy.  For unto you this day in the city of David is born a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”  Luke 2:10-11.