Advent Devotional: Dec. 14, 2020

By Gayle Chimo

Romans 12:12:
“Be joyful in hope, patient in afflictions, faithful in prayer.” 

February 8, 2020 was a gray, bitter cold day. With frost on the lawn it was a day you just wanted to stay in your jammies, sit by the fireplace and savor your coffee. But a commitment was made and must be kept. It was orchid re-potting day at the GA State Botanical Gardens for Orchid Madness. The weather forecast called for a slight chance of snow!

Halfway through re-potting the snowflakes started falling, I could hardly pay attention to the event, I finally had to break away to experience the flurry. Soon the gardens were draped in a white blanket of glistening snow. As I meandered around in this winter landscape, I came across yellow daffodils springing up through the white powder. The contrast of the bright yellow bloom against the white snow was brilliant.  

A month later COVID-19 hit like the grim reaper, stealing our way of life as we knew it, threatening our health, taking lives, shattering livelihoods.  With the anxiety of uncertainty, a fear crept in, what was to come? My mind took me back to the flowers on that cold winter morning in February. How they stood confidently under the weight of the snow, holding their petals up strong in defiance of the adverse conditions. 

I started making trips back to the Botanical Garden, hiking and snapping up pictures all through spring, summer, and fall. God’s brilliant display of blooms helped me cope; it melted away the day’s stress and renewed my hope each day. From the charming to the exotic, the flowers never stopped showcasing God’s message of hope. A confident expectation of what God has promised and the strength in His faithfulness.  

This connect to God’s creation of nature, reminds us that flowers can bring us joy triggering our happy brain chemicals, bringing a feeling of wellbeing and happiness. This gives us hope to muster through this pandemic knowing that God is with us, even during these turbulent times. The Christmas story, Jesus’ birth, is a story of hope fulfilled, for unto us a savior is born. God sent his son and redeemed His people.  

This year Christmas will be different, there is restlessness, sadness, and loneliness but we must not lose our hope. Deck the halls, sing your carols, create new traditions, and reflect on all the blessings God has given us in His garden of flowers. Maybe this Christmas will afford us more time to reflect on the gift of hope, to be patient, and to pray with conviction for a better 2021.  

Dear Lord, hear our prayer, surround us with a special sense of your presence this Christmas. Let the beauty of your creation remind us of your promise of hope this season. Bless us with patience while we confidently wait and envision your abundance to come.