• Rev. Joel L. Tolbert

Twas the Devotional before Christmas

Twas the Devotional before Christmas,

and the pastors were trying

to make it to next week

without breaking down and crying.


They had both been sick

in the weeks just before,

but had stumbled and bumbled

their way through the doors.


Bulletins need checking.

Are all things in order?

Christmas Eve is coming!

It's just around the corner!


The sermons need writing.

There are no sermon elves.

There are just a few days,

and they won't write themselves.


Emails are flying.

Elders respond.

Deacons are serving.

Others watch on.


Advent devotionals

were emailed away.

But did anyone read them,

or pray them each day?


Candles are ready.

Wreaths are placed.

The purple and white

of Advent is draped.


But will all our efforts

and words tell the story

of God's great love,

and Christ's great glory?


Will a star really shine?

Will people come and see?

Will a babe be born Lord?

Will we follow his lead?


Perhaps our hope,

and our greatest fear,

is that on this night,

God might actually appear.


Christmas is not about

sermons and stuff.

Most Christmas traditions

and worries are fluff.


Christmas is a memory,

a promise God made,

that all things will change,

that love will invade.


Every hunger is fed.

Every fight will end.

Every tear, wiped away.

Every brokenness, mended.


The lights and flowers,

the red and green,

the wreaths and candles,

the paraments and things...


Aren't meant to be why

we gather and sing.

Or how we know Christmas

is among us again.


We know Christmas has come,

is born here among us

when we feel God's love

and share it to others beyond us.


May we gather together

on this Christmas eve

with great expectations

of miracles believed.


May they change us and move us

from deep inside

to birth God's love throughout

this world, far and wide.


May hope light our fire.

May peace rule our days.

May joy bend our souls.

and love be our way.


Twas the devotional before Christmas

and nothing else matters

than the love of God

in Christ with us, forever.


Rev. Joel Tolbert

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