Sunday, January 3, 2021

DAY 36

Image by Timothy Neesam

Tenth Day of Christmas

Consider and answer me, O Lord my God! Give light to my eyes.
(Psalm 13:3)

God sends forth a command to the earth— swiftly runs the word! God spreads snow like wool and scatters frost like ashes. God hurls hail like pebbles—who can stand before God’s freezing winds? Then God sends a word and melts them; God lets the breeze blow and the waters run again.
(Psalm 147:15-20 TIB)


I lie down and sleep; I wake again, for God sustains me.
(Psalm 3:5)

Summer drops off to Autumn
Leaves change and blow free
Days darken early
A shiver is all

A clear cold night
Wind whistling through trees
Frost keeping me up
A shiver is all

A cold dank stairwell
One blanket not two
No pillow for my head
A shiver is all

A sweet Christmas home
Cozy and warm
Comfort completely
But for me, a shiver is all
- "A Shiver is All" by Jacob Folger,
found on

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
(Psalm 119:105)

"Blankets" by Holly Farrell (2018)

In today's reading, we hear some of the last verses of Psalm 147, which offer us an image of God blowing into a frozen earth and stirring it into life. In the psalm, God creates the wintry elements and also commands that they be melted. Right now, as we live out the winter months of the pandemic, those who are especially vulnerable are the homeless and those who live with addictions. The people and agencies who work alongside them describe significantly limited resources and reduced community opportunities as a result of safety protocols. Community tables once lined with people on both sides, now permit only two at a table, separated by 12 feet, with windows wide open. The need is also greater because of reduced resources: shelters are full and overflowing, there is increased drug use and increased incidence of overdose. In today's poem, we hear the first-hand experience of living on the streets in winter. The poet tells us how the Christmas season can bring a heightened sense of loss. In the psalm, when the command comes from God, the waters start to flow again. The ice has melted, there is a sense of life returning. In the biblical story, water is always at its most healing when it is stirring or running. This is what is meant by the “living” in “living water”. The healing agent is the presence of the Holy Spirit in the activity of the water: divine energy is what causes the water to stir. “Word” in Hebrew is a spoken word, matter or thing. ‘Dabar’ carries all three of these meanings. But as disciples of Jesus, we can also hear a cadence of ‘Word’, as in Jesus, the Word made flesh who comes among us. Jesus, the Word, teaches us what loving activity looks like. Jesus himself tells the woman at the well in John’s gospel that he provides living water. God sends out Jesus into the world, and our frozen hearts melt, our capacity for generosity becomes enlivened as we live into our discipleship. We become the agents of that living activity. In the cold winter of a pandemic, we can offer our loving care, through financial support of services that provide that care and, where possible, through our own presence in those programs. Although it may seem like virus protocols limit what we can do, we might also look for how God’s creativity working in us can inspire us to find alternatives. We can listen to those in need of care and those providing care to hear what might be helpful or encouraging. Some suggest that we can be helpful through advocacy and protest, by making our voices heard with government, by pressing our local representatives for more urgent action. In this way, our "words" can become life-giving activity. How can we become those who stir the water, who help make change? How can we show our loving care with our voices calling for change?

Image by Jamie McCaffrey

LC† Longing for Renewal is a project of Lutherans Connect, supported by the Eastern Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. Join us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram and on Twitter. Lutherans Connect invites you to make a donation to the Ministry by going to this link on the website of the ELCIC Eastern Synod and selecting "Lutherans Connect Devotionals" under "Fund". Devotions are always freely offered, however your donations help to support extended offerings throughout the year.
Thank you and peace be with you!