December 11, 2020

Presbyterians Today, PC(USA)
Advent Christmas Devotionals 2020
"Let Us Light Candles"
"Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities." 

Psalm 130
The broken ornament
I drove to the church still sniffling over the pieces of a broken ornament that were in a plastic sandwich bag. I had hoped to find some glue in the office to piece it back together. The ornament meant a lot to me as it was my great aunt’s. When I got to my desk, I was better able to assess the damage. The ornament was beyond repair.

A soft knock at my door interrupted the tears that were about to fall. I glanced at the clock. School was out and that meant the girls from the rural village I was serving as pastor would be dropping by the church to hang out with me. Sure enough, the teens came barreling in, talking a mile a minute about what was served for lunch and who had a crush on whom.

I noticed one girl was uncharacteristically quiet. I was about to probe deeper when she asked me if I believed God could put together broken hearts. She had just gone to the funeral of her young cousin who was killed. She was struggling with the dreaded “why?” question that even we adults can’t make sense of.

What was I to say? With the smashed ornament in my hand, I said, “Not only do I believe God can put together the pieces of our broken hearts, I know that in the process, God will do amazing things.” I told her what a pastor told me years ago: Our brokenness allows room for God to enter in and make something beautiful.

I showed her the ornament, and I told her I knew it was silly of me to cry over it, for my loved one wasn’t in this ornament but in my heart. Then I reminded her that Christ was born exactly for this: to give us hope in the midst of our sadness.

She leaned forward, taking a closer look at the pieces of glass in my hand. “That’s a lot of brokenness in your hand, Pastor Donna. God really has room now to do something amazing,” she said, giving me a smile that was probably her first one since the funeral.

God of broken hearts, broken dreams and broken ornaments, enter into my life and recreate something beautiful from the shards. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen. 

Go deeper
Is there brokenness in your life this day? Or perhaps there is a brokenness in the world that is making your heart ache. Visualize handing over the brokenness to God, trusting that God will make everything new again.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009