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Advent Devotion – Sunday, December 22

“He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.”  ~ John 1:10 ~

This last weekend I attended Jonah and Luca’s first piano recital. It was captivating in a way that caught me off guard. As they sat there with their best little boy postures and played what they had been taught, I was struck by the purity of their innocence and by their willingness and ability to take part in the creating of music; creating, as it were, beauty from nothing. 

After their performances, Pat Schmidt sat down to play her pieces. Pat, if you don’t know her, sustained a severe brain injury and lay comatose for 40 some odd days after being caught up in a tornado. Many years of therapy and rehab later, she had regained much, but not all of what she had lost only to be set back again by a skiing accident and then later a fall down the stairs. Now she manages as well as she can, and to watch her inspires awe. She sits and focuses all of her attention to her hands that don’t quite know how to listen and obey. With an indominable spirit she aims at the keys, striving to wrest order from a profound disorder. With painful deliberation she played O Little Town of Bethlehem

I marveled at her incredible determination and was moved to tears as I listened to her eek out this simple Christmas hymn. The whole experience left me appreciating the elegant simplicity and beauty of God’s created order, how well it works, how fragile it all can be, how much I can take it all for granted and how, thanks to the fierce spirit of a woman like Pat, it all comes so stunningly into focus. The world was made through Jesus. Children of innocence, a woman of titanic courage, music… these all reflect the glory of God and he has given me a mind to apprehend and appreciate all of it. 

Emmanuel… God with us… In moments like this, I realize that you are intimately closer than we know. Help us to recognize you and your handiwork as we wind our way through life and may this recognition spurn us onward with a burning and brilliant hope that one day you will reconcile completely all things to yourself (Col 1:20).

Merry Christmas!

Rob Schmidt, the new pastor of worship and arts!