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Devotional: January 3, 2022

Updated: Jan 6

“When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”

Luke 2: 39-40 NRSV

Today is the first Monday of 2022. For some, the last few weeks of the holidays have been full of a break from the routine: visits with friends or family, and perhaps the consumption of more delicious treats than normal. We have finished the season of Advent, where we prepared for the birth of Christ. It was followed by Christmas, and then New Year’s. Now things will return to normal, and our routines will again be part of our daily lives.

This scripture reminds us that much of life is lived in the ordinary rhythms and routines of life. However, it would be a mistake to think that the ordinary parts of our life are unimportant. I find it very significant that Luke tells us that “the child (Jesus) grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.”

As Jesus grew in stature and intellect, it was undoubtedly a process which happened slowly, almost imperceptibly. His parents, and others who knew him, would not see amazing progress each and every day. Some days, it might seem like growing by leaps and bounds, but other days, they would probably notice no discernable change.

Yet just because we do not see amazing, visible growth every single day, doesn’t mean growth is not happening. God works in our lives on even the most “ordinary” of days. In fact, to emphasize this fact, the Christian liturgical calendar calls this “Ordinary Time.”

As we begin this new year, may we become spiritually strong, and be filled with wisdom. May the Lord find favor in us. Let us remember that our own spiritual growth takes time as we build it through bible studies, sharing God’s word, worshipping the Lord, and fellowshipping with other believers. Growth also takes place through the reading the scriptures, the singing of songs and time devoted to prayer. As we journey into this new year, let us remember that daily growth may seem slow and less than spectacular, but it is the faithful growth, over a long period of time, which the Lord takes pleasure in.

One of the books in my library is about discipling people in the church, and its title is instructive: “Growing Spiritual Redwoods”. Such mighty trees do not grow rapidly. Instead, they grow slowly over decades, and even centuries. May the Lord bring about slow and steady growth in all of us this year!

Prayer

Lord of all time,

Bless me each and every day of my life. Help me to make the most of each day, as I strive to live for you. I know that You number my days, even as You keep track of all the details of my life. I pray this prayer in the name of Your son, and my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.

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