[CF Devotionals] 2011-12-25 - The Christmas Hummingbird

Christmas Day 2011

1 Thessalonians 5:16 Be joyful always. (NIV)

When we recently returned from our late November vacation, we saw something in our yard, that gave us one of those "what's wrong with this picture" moments. We were startled and amazed to discover a Hummingbird in our yard. Where we live, Hummingbirds normally leave no later than mid-October, to embark upon their 500+ mile journey to Central America. But here she was, and still is, during the Christmas season. She was an unexpected joy. We were thankful that, per the advice of ornithologists, for the last 22 years we have always kept feeders up (clean and filled) year-round, for those rare Hummers who stay behind.* She's been a delight to watch, and with her green color on the red feeders, she's a more exquisite ornament than any we could have bought at the finest store. We feel privileged to help this little creature.

This brought to my mind, the fact that if our eyes and hearts are open, we can find that we are surrounded by unexpected Christmas joys. As we Christians know, Christmas isn't just about presents, though thoughtfully-selected presents can expressions of our God-given love for family and friends. The most obvious joy of Christmas is the Original Gift, the gift that should inspire all our gift-giving and our very lives ? the gift of Christ as our Savior, to secure eternal life for us. But there are other joys, as well.

Some of the unexpected joys / blessings of my Christmas season, was seeing the elaborate and beautiful light sculptures in our first boat parade, including a leaping dolphin. The lights, of course, are a reminder of the Light of the World. Yet another unexpected joy was how we human beings, in a complicated, "sophisticated" world, can still enjoy the simple, uncomplicated pleasure of seeing a parade complete with booming bands and rescued Bassett Hounds, who reminded us of the joys of reaching out to help those who need it.

I would love to hear about any unexpected joys that God has sent your way during this season, and I hope that each of you has a meaningful, joyful Christmas.

* (Contrary to some mythological beliefs, keeping a feeder up will not cause them to stay, and if they are staying through the Winter, they can benefit from our sugar water, to supplement the now-scarce natural food sources.)

[email jan] Jan