December 25, 2009

Dec. 25: The quietest day


By Tamara Shantz, assistant campus pastor
SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:41-52 (NRSV)
Scroll down for complete Scripture.

Our text for this Christmas Day transports us from the story of Jesus’ birth to one of our only accounts from Jesus’ childhood. As I read over this passage, I wondered what parenting Jesus was like. God bursts into Mary and Joseph’s lives with extraordinary power and mystery. What a strange task – raising the Son of God! But surely it was easy for Jesus’ parents to forget and treat Jesus like any other child. Here, they get caught up in their anxiety over Jesus’ disappearance. And yet, Jesus reminds them that he is not ‘just’ their child; that he is here for a larger purpose.

On this day, God radically bursts into our world, and like Mary and Joseph, we’ve gotten used to this arrival. We too get caught up in the anxieties of our lives and forget to join Jesus as he sits in the house of God. I recently heard an author discussing a new book where he follows four families through the Christmas season. He reflected on the fact that the shortest chapter in the book was the one covering Christmas Day. On this day, “not much happens,” in contrast to the flurry of shopping before and after, and Christmas continues to be the quietest day in America.

I have experienced this to be true. I love walking across the empty, snow-covered streets to my grandma’s house Christmas morning. No cars or sounds, just my steps crunching across the snow. I pray that we might take this day as an opportunity to step back from our anxieties, that we might see how God has burst into our world in wonderful ways, and that we might allow the Spirit to break out into our lives.


Thank you to every one of you for joining us this Advent season as we waited once more for the coming of the Christ child. It is our prayer that you will continue to see the many ways God is bursting in and breaking out in your life, in your congregation and in the world.

Join us again for the season of Lent in 2010 (unless you unsubscribe, they will automatically be sent to you) when the devotions by Goshen College students, faculty and staff will start on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 17.

Blessings and peace to you in the coming year!


SCRIPTURE: Luke 2:41-52 (NRSV)

Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travellers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favour.



Comments (19)

  1. Merry Christmas and thank you for the beautiful devotions for this Advent and Christmas season. God bless.

    Adele Lewis December 25, 2009 |
  2. thank you for enriching my Advent faith journey

    stu buisch December 25, 2009 |
  3. Thank you very much for your reflective pieces during Advent 2009. A gentle daily blessing.
    Don Heydens

    Don Heydens December 25, 2009 |
  4. What a blessing these devotions have been during the Advent Season. May God continue His works thru you. Happy New Year and may God bless you all at Goshen College. In Christ name, Flora

    flora December 25, 2009 |
  5. Thank you for sharing these advent devotionals may God bless you all at Goshen this Christmas season.

    Paul Powers December 25, 2009 |
  6. Thank you Goshen College all the participants helped me be more aware of how God works in my daily walk.
    May God Bless you all as you have Blessed me!!!!!!!!

    robert December 25, 2009 |
  7. These reflections and readings have been an inspiration and encouragement this Advent Season. Thank you to each writer, for sharing of yourself and your insight. May you all be blessed.

    Lil December 25, 2009 |
  8. Thank you for having Blessed our Advent Season.

    Peter Kufeke December 25, 2009 |
  9. Merry Christmas to all at GC; and many thanks for these inspiring and thought-provoking devotionals! Looking forward to Lent….

    Tony December 25, 2009 |
  10. Again this year, I anticipated the devotions you published each day. I especially enjoyed today’s although at our home, we await the arrival of our three chidren, their spouses and our seven grandchidlren – two of whom are spending this first Christmas with us. So the quietness was last night when my wife exchanged our gifts to each other after attending the Christmas Eve service with her aging parents.
    So, thank you for the joy your community shares in my little community called home.

    Dr. John D Webb December 25, 2009 |
  11. Thank you for your inspiring and encouraging thoughts that helped make my Advent season this year very special! margrscj

    Margaret Connolly December 25, 2009 |
  12. Thank you for the Christmas Devotionals. I looked forward to being inspired each morning by either a student or staff. You have good “Thinkers.” I enjoyed hearing from each of you. I should have replied every day. Keep up the good work all of you do at Goshen College.

    Mary K. Mishler December 25, 2009 |
  13. Thanks much for this Advent series: I’ve used ‘em in of all places for the waiting area of my work place. One of our patients has taken up woodworking, and gifte us with a pair of sweetly formed candlesticks. Not knowing what to do with the set, I placed them in a window with the Gideon Bible between them. I turned to each dy’s SAcripture reading, and simply attached a PostIt with a brief summary of the day’s devotion. Those who noticed appreciated the effort.

    Robert Tollefson December 26, 2009 |
  14. I just want to say thank you for these messages. My husband has prostate cancer and on Wednesday we are going to a radiation therapist (or something like that – anyway, a doctor our urologist is sending us to. Pray we make the right choice about how to take care of this. My husband is not a believer though he helps out at church – won’t go to services – and supports me in my faith. It’s hard.

    Pat Zavadil December 26, 2009 |
  15. What a blessing you have been, making my Advent season and the celebration of Christmas take on new, enriched meaning. Your reflections have been shared with others as well. Who knows how many others may have been touched as the blessings get passed around. God love you. Mary

    Mary December 27, 2009 |
  16. I have enjoyed all of the Advent Devotionals. Each writer has ministered to me and I’ve been blessed! Thank you! Happy New Years wishes to all!

    Esther December 28, 2009 |
  17. Thank you for having Blessed our Advent Season.


    Jennings April 5, 2011 |
  18. And yet, Jesus reminds them that he is not ‘just’ their child; that he is here for a larger purpose.swtor credits aion kinah

    swtor credits November 16, 2011 |