Written by Tim Grembowski

…God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.Luke 1:26-27

So in Christ we who are many form one body and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying…If it is serving…if it is teaching…if it is encouraging…if it is contributing to the needs of others…if it is leadership…if it is showing mercy… – Romans 12:5-8

When does the Christmas season start for you? You know that event or thing that says “Now I’m in the Christmas Spirit”? I have seen decorations up in stores and on a house’s lawn already. Does Christmas start on Black Friday? The advertising is in full swing and seems to start earlier each year. Is it tramping through the fields to cut a Christmas tree? Is it some family tradition you have enjoyed over the years? Visiting the National Christmas tree? I have to admit Christmas has started very early for me several times.

15 years ago, in mid-November, I joined our church’s week-long mission team traveling to Arcadia, Florida to work on hurricane damaged homes. To be brief, that trip changed my life. Since then, though not every year, some type of mission trip right before the Holiday season has become a tradition I look forward to. This year, it happened to be El Salvador, working on a Christian high school. For me, it is a retreat away from this sometimes crazy, materialistic lifestyle in NoVa. It is a simple lifestyle; a time for reflection; a time for giving thanks for the bounty we have here; a time to get a better perspective on the important things in life; and yes, a time to use whatever meager gifts I may have. It is the perfect way for me to get into the “Spirit of Christmas”.

Of course it is not necessary to travel far to use our gifts during the Christmas season. There are many venues right here in Haymarket to share the gifts our Lord has given us. I hope you take every opportunity that comes your way.

Prayer for Today: Heavenly Father, may we always keep your saving grace front and center in our lives. It is easy to get distracted by sales and parties and deadlines and obligations during this busy time. May we remember the true reason for celebration, Your Gift of everlasting life through the birth of Jesus and guidance in our current lives through the Holy Spirit.

If you’ve missed any of our previous daily readings, you can find them all archived here. We hope these readings are helping you encounter God this season!