Sweetwater Presbyterian

Small in size, Big in Faith and Love

Devotion December 20, 2017


Woke up this morning and it was raining. Now I know that rain is important; I know we need rain to make the plants grow and to provide water so we have something to drink and can take showers and flush our toilets and wash our dishes. It has to rain. But cold rain is another thing already. Cold rain just gets inside your bones and creates a chill that just won’t go away no matter how many coats or sweaters you put on or blankets you wrap up in.
But it isn’t really about the nasty cold rain that we are experiencing today - all day to be exact; this is simply about the fact that it is raining and I have to go to work. Now I’m not complaining about going to work - I love what I do and I’m usually anxious to get over to my office and get started on the day’s list… and I am not complaining about the commute to work because all I have to do is walk out my side door and across the alley and into the church and there I am! At work; in my office!
But on days like today when it is raining quite vigorously outside a commute anywhere is uncomfortable simply because you have to go out into the cold water falling from the sky that chills your very being…. Fortunately on my porch is an umbrella (we of course keep the good umbrellas in the car - notice the plural…. Umbrellas in the car where of course you can’t get them to walk through the rain to the car… or anywhere else for that matter)
But the good news is that there is an umbrella on my porch so that I can get to work without being drenched in cold, irritating rain.
So out the door I go onto the porch - which of course is also good news because I do have this buffer between the nice cozy warm and dry house and the shivering region of the low temperature moisture laden outdoors - and it is here that I have the opportunity to grab the umbrella, put it up, angle myself through the screen door so that I can get my self off on my short journey.
I get out the door, I pick up the umbrella, I pop it up and off I go. After I have maneuvered getting through the screen door which isn’t quite wide enough to get me and my wide open umbrella through in a normal way so I turn sideways and tip the umbrella so that I can get down the steps and onto the sidewalk all while trying to keep myself from being rained on…..
It was when I got onto the sidewalk that I noticed that there was something strange about my umbrella. I’m not even sure I can describe what the issue was - it wasn’t anything I had even seen before and because of this malfunction of the umbrella I was finding myself getting wet with that frigid precipitation.
Somehow one of the metal spokes of the umbrella had become caught in one of the other metal spokes on the other side of the umbrella so the fabric portions of the umbrella were folded up underneath the the portions of the umbrella that were up and tight and trying to do their job of holding off the rain - but enough of the umbrella was included in the folded up portion that the working portion couldn’t do its proper job…… In other words the umbrella was broken and I was getting wet!
Now the next part of this scenario was that I was on my way to work and that of course means that my arms were full of items that I generally take to work with me - my keys, my coffee mug (which is just an essential part of my starting my work as the keys to get into the building and my office) and I have my laptop and some papers so the one hand is holding the umbrella and the other arm is holding onto all of the paraphernalia I need for work (it must be noted here that I have a couple really nice briefcases that I could use to aid in this ‘stuff’ transition from my office to my house but of course I choose the more cumbersome caring…..).
The sensible thing of course would be to angle myself back onto the porch, set down the items I am carrying, and then try and figure out the problem with my errant umbrella. No, I stand getting myself drenched in the deluge trying to hold the umbrella in the crook of the arm already full of items, balancing it on the back of my head, while I try one handed to finagle the folded metal and fabric of the umbrella back to where it will work to keep me protected from the unpleasant weather around me.
Well, I finally became miserable enough that I did what I should have done from the very beginning which is go back onto the porch and lay down the many parcels I was trying to balance while holding the umbrella and use both hands on a dry porch to fix the broken umbrella.
Which I did within a few seconds - after spending an eon trying to do it the unpractical way - and then I was able to open the now working umbrella, pick up the work articles, angle out the door and walk across the alley to the church - now only wet from the poor decision of trying to fix the problem with the umbrella (or the bumbershoot which is one of those weird words that also means umbrella) where I would have been quite dry had I done what I needed to do at first…….
I’m sure you know that this is the week before Christmas. And many are trying to juggle parties, and gift buying, and grift wrapping, and card writing, and phone calls that need to be done, and food that needs to be bought and prepared, and all those extra church services you have to attend and emotions that are good from memories of good Christmas’ past and emotions that are bad because of bad memories of Christmas past or people who have moved or passed and you will miss this Christmas and just trying to do the normal things you have to do everyday anyway and you feel like you have an arm full of objects while getting wet and trying to fix a non-functioning umbrella……
It is at this moment where you take a step back, look to the heavens and say, “God, I know that you never intended the birth of your son to create such a difficult time; such a time that this season of Joy has almost become a burden; help me balance the ‘Good news of great joy’ with the pile of ‘things to do’ that humans have created around this season…..
In other words, get back on the porch and put everything down and then you can see that Christmas is about the Christ…..


These devotions began in 2006 as a way to give us a midweek boost as we live out our lives as the people of God! Feel free to share them if you wish.