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Our favorite Christmas readings, part 6

By December 21, 2023Faith & Learning

For our final post, we share a special Advent devotion written by Mrs. Madelina Pozas Pratt, a CCS Early Childhood Education program mom and daughter of Calvin’s Head of School, Dr. Jeff Pratt.  Madelina wrote this for her work colleagues and shared it with her father. When thinking about what reading he would share with the CCS community, Dr. J happened to receive this devotion from his daughter and was so blessed by it that he chose to share it with our readers here. Enjoy!

Dear Colleagues,
Today marks the next theme in our Advent series: Love. The coming of Christmas is perhaps the most accessible and comprehensible way that we can come to understand how deeply God loves us: that He wrote Himself into His story, that He chose to enter His creation, so that we – His wayward children – would be able to someday come home. What an extraordinary love that must be, that one as great as our Father in Heaven would look upon us with such tender loving grace.
This year Advent has hit differently for me in many ways – while I sing songs by the twinkling tree with my children as cookies bake in the oven, I have been struck many times by how contrasted these beautiful moments are with the deep suffering and darkness felt in so many parts of the world today, even within our circles of friends and family. Grief and loss. Broken relationships. Hunger. Loneliness. Danger and fear. It is sometimes  overwhelming to read the news or even look next door and feel powerless against the work of the enemy, who is indeed very real in our world today.
But I suppose that it is in fact in this trembling worry that Advent is made most clear and meaningful. To a world that was hungry, to a world that was suffering, to a world that was longing – He came. Very much like our world today. In CS Lewis’ famous book The Great Divorce (a must read if you have not yet read it yourself), a question is asked to the angel why none had ever tried to enter Hell to rescue those that were lost there to which he replies… “Only the Greatest of all can make Himself small enough to enter Hell…” And enter He did – humble and precious and yet in all His perfect divinity – because that is how much He loves us. Not because coming here would be easy, but because He as the Good Shepherd declared that we were worth coming for.
The Greatest One of all has made Himself small enough to enter the depths of our despair and redeem what has been lost. At last, the King has come. And there is no battle fought here on Earth that He has not already won in the end. What great comfort that gives!
I have found myself leaning into the old hymns this Advent (there is so much wisdom in this poetry of old) –  I wanted to share one here that my family and I have enjoyed reading aloud this season.
I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 
 I will leave you all with this beautiful song  Behold Him  by Francesca Battistelli as a reminder of His great love for each and every one of us – “some years it’s wonder and lights in the sky and some years it’s okay to cry… in your silent night when you’re not alright, lift your eyes and behold him, feel the thrill of hope, you are not alone, in this moment behold him… born to seek, born the save, born to take our pain away.”
 That, my dear friends, is the greatest love that has ever been or ever will be. That He came for us. And He comes to us still. And all we need do is behold him – the King has come.
Madelina Pratt Pozas'

Author Heather Souders

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