Advent Devotion 12-23-19

Monday, December 23, 2019                                                

Galatians 5:22-23

22By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things.

Worth the Wait

It was around December 15th, Advent 2017. I wasn’t anywhere close to being finished with my Christmas shopping.  I had finally gotten around to ordering some things from Amazon (and yes, I was using Emmanuel’s Amazon Affiliate Link to earn money for my church with my purchases) and that was when I had to face the dreadful truth.  The things that I ordered would not arrive in time for Christmas.  But if I signed up for a free trial of Amazon Prime, I would get them in a just two days. I figured I could sign up, save my neck for Christmas, and then cancel as soon as the free trial was going to run out.  I’ll bet that you can guess what happened. I forgot to cancel the free trial and ended up paying for Amazon Prime for a year. I figured that it wasn’t the end of the world.  I could use the service for the year, and then cancel it.  The only problem with that plan was that I ended liking the service, so I allowed to renew.  It’s fun not to have to wait any more than two days for packages to arrive at our house. For a procrastinator like me, there are times when the almost instant gratification of Amazon Prime’s quick delivery service has felt like a lifesaver. I don’t have to wait to get something until I have time to go shopping, I can order it with a click on one of my omnipresent devices, and then, in what seems like no time, it arrives at my house.  There is next to no waiting involved.

But our short scripture reading for today reminds us that two of the fruits of the Spirit are patience (which implies that there are things worth waiting for) and self-control (which implies that instant gratification is not always the benefit that it feels like it is).  In a culture that prizes and celebrates and charges for and pays for the immediate, we are encouraged to experience the Holy Spirit in our lives, the Spirit who teaches us to wait.  The Spirit teaches us to wait for God’s timing, not for ours.  The Spirit teaches us to wait for what it truly good for us, not just what feels good in the moment.  The Spirit teaches us what the world can never teach us.

Amazon Prime might be a convenience that I have come to enjoy, but the gifts that I really need this Christmas won’t come in a UPS truck or in a white van with a yellow smile/arrow painted on it.  The gifts that I truly need this Christmas and every day of the year are the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  These truly are gifts that are worth waiting for!

Let us pray.   Generous God, you give us gifts without measure, gifts that are beyond price, gifts that come only from you.  Open our hearts, our minds, our lives, to receive what you so graciously give.  Holy Spirit, fill us with your fruits, so that we can overflow with blessing for the sake of the world around us.  Amen. 

Submitted by:  Pastor Amanda Warner