Holy Gifts

Snuggled between the layers
of holy breaths

‘Lessons and Carols of Advent’
remind us that even now
“All the World is Waiting
to See the Promised One”

and the anticipated
time when the sanctuary
will be lit by a hundred small
yet significant, flickering flames

young voices are heard reading
the nativity scriptures
with heartfelt sincerity
that bring tears to wise eyes.

At that moment my spirit sings!
I wonder how their hearts might
be touched as the words
of the nativity flow sweetly and

significant gifts are brought
for the birthday of Jesus
piano, clarinet, and French horn playing
and one small boy beating a drum.

Luke 2:8-20 (CEB) Announcement to shepherds.

8 Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9 The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.

10 The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11 Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12 This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13 Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14 “Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

15 When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.”16 They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 18 Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. 20 The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.


There’s something about hearing the voices of children and teens read the Nativity scriptures that makes me hear the words in a different way. It could be the inflection of the voice; or the time it takes for a little one to pause and sound out an unknown word, that provides time to consider it more deeply.

The scriptures from Luke bring us Mary and Joseph, the inn keeper, shepherds, and the angels. The roles they play help us understand the bigger picture of what the incarnation means. God becomes human in this vulnerable little baby! Jesus started out his life as all of us once did, emerging from the warmth of our mother’s bodies into a messy world.

This yearly re-telling of this profound moment fills me with a sense of awe. The wonder of the Spirit of God inhabiting a human body demonstrates complete love for all creation and is the greatest example of how we can inhabit Christ’s love in our lives.

How many times in your life have you felt connected with God because of all Jesus went through in his earthly life and the fuller relationship God gained for humanity?

This Christmas, wherever you are, may you take in the mystery of this Holy birth. Feel it with all five senses, and let it seep deep within to transform your being with love, hope, and peace.
We pray holy Christmas blessings upon you.

Merry Christmas!


Rev. Marta Wheeler

To view or download a PDF version of this devotional, click here:  Devotional MW 2022-12-21