Our church puts together an advent devotional book, and asks members to write individual devotionals. This year the Beavers were assigned Romans 8:18. So, I looked through all the translations until I found the "perfect" one. And since I spent the evening writing and editing with Eli, I figured I would put it here (two birds with one stone, and all that).
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (NIV)
Many of us look forward to the holidays as a season to relax and spend time with family. We have idealized notions of what the holidays will look like for us, for our family; yet, for many, the reality falls short of our expectations. We couldn’t find the items we were looking for, so we settled for something less perfect to give. Our tree is slightly lopsided, a bit Charlie Brown-esque, but it’s the best we can afford. The cookies we made using Grandma’s famous recipe come out tasting, well, unsuitable to serve the guests (though they’ll probably get eaten if I put them in the teacher’s lounge). Someone is disappointed by our travel plans, however much we try to satisfy everyone. Though we gave heavy hints about what the perfect present would be, we’re disappointed that no one listened (“present sufferings”…get it?). We don’t have time or energy to do everything, see everyone, and still have the perfect Christmas experience. Woe is we. Uh, woe is us. Well, woes, anyway.
It’s times like this that Paul’s words get straight to the point of things. What is important? Our holiday tribulations are so trivial compared to our purpose here. It’s imperative that we lift our eyes above these earthly concerns to true perfection—the coming of the Lord’s kingdom. Our role in that does not include the perfect presents, the perfect tree, the perfect cookies, or the perfect family-appeasing travel plans. Our role is simply to receive THE PERFECT GIFT and to share Him with the world.
I heard on NPR today that there are 45 days left until 2010. That means there are 38 days until Christmas. Cheers!