Advent Devotional: Nov. 30, 2022

Stop and Smell the Cocoa

Anette & Jackie Wright
Originally published on December 9, 2019

Matthew 6:30-34 (NKJV)
Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

The holiday season brings so much to stress about. I wonder how I can possibly pick a gift that my godmother will want and that she hasn’t already gotten for herself. Won’t she already have it if she wants it? What do I need to know to be ready for the chemistry midterm next week? Should I sacrifice the rare family harmony to correct my uncle’s wild political incorrectness? There are meals to plan, gifts to buy and wrap, and gatherings with family and friends. We have all of these things, and more, to stress about this season. It feels like there’s so much to do and not nearly enough time to do it.

But every Christmas, we can be thankful for so much. We reflect on the season and feel blessed by all of the good times and regret the times we spent stressing when we should have just handed the stress over to God. The scripture says, “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.” Instead of worrying about what the next day will bring, we should take the time to show love to our friends and family. We should take the time to feel the intense love of God. And we should allow God’s love to carry us through each day, and this season.

This season, we should stop to ask ourselves, “Where am I in this moment?” Am I stressing about the future, regretting the past, or am I really living in the present? Am I really hearing the Christmas carols, feeling the cold wind on my nose and cheeks, and enjoying the hot cocoa as it warms me? God is trying to make us smile with these little gifts, but are we even taking the time to notice them? The kingdom of God is all around us, we only have to live in the moment to experience it.

During Advent, we can remember to be in the moments that God has given us, and enjoy the blessings of the season. When the stress takes over and we forget to appreciate God’s little, and not so little, gifts to us, we can meditate on this prayer:

A Prayer to Savor the Moment
by Rachel Wojo
Dear God,
Thank you for this exact point in time.
Sometimes I struggle to enjoy the gift of the present.
I push forward before your timing is perfect
And then feel the pain of rushing.
My spirit longs to savor the moment
While my mind scrambles to snatch the next minute.
Will you slow my heart to beat your rhythm?
Will you sync my step to mirror your tempo?
May my spirit fail to chase after the next beautiful experience
Until I’ve unwrapped the gift of right now-
The present.