Christmas Eve – where God reaches in and plants hope!

1-IMG_3709-001A small tree will begin to grow from the stump of Jesse. That branch will grow from Jesse’s roots. The Lord’s Spirit will always be with that new king to give him wisdom, understanding, guidance, and power. The Spirit will help him know and respect the LordHe will find joy in obeying the Lord. – Isaiah 11:1-3

CHRISTMAS EVE:  Before I even make the first cup of coffee, today has all the markers of being epic beyond imagination. It’s already a Sunday – and Sunday is my favorite day of the week. Then today also happens to be Christmas Eve – hands down my favorite day of the year. Bring these two facts together and December 24, 2017, is already positioned to be amazing and more.

I was thinking about all this early Saturday afternoon when our friend Larry showed up to help dig in a new feature in the front garden at Maul-Hall. He brought a Japanese maple tree and a bucketload of red tulip bulbs.

Rebekah likes nothing better than getting her hands dirty. So, although digging typically isn’t a good call for “the back”, she can absolutely part the freshly turned soil, on her knees with a trowel, and cover up a few bulbs.

1-IMG_6565BREAKING IN:  Sometimes Christmas Eve strikes me the same way. God ripping apart the boundary of separation and reaching into time and space to find me, then gently parting the soil and planting the possibility for redemption.

I wrote yesterday that Jesus is God’s invitation. This baby, this Christ-child, seems planted anew in our hearts every time we remember the events of that first Christmas. God reaching in and placing the possibility of new life so gently, so lovingly, leaving it up to us to nurture the root and to grow.

The invitation is for us to get down on our knees, too, to get dirt under our fingernails, to care for the seed of promise, to live in response to God’s initiative of love, and to invest ourselves in all that Christ’s coming makes get down on our knees, too,

  • to get dirt under our fingernails,
  • to care for the seed of promise,
  • to live in response to God’s initiative of love,
  • and to invest ourselves in all that Christ’s coming makes possible.

I’m glad Christmas comes in the winter. Because the next thing that happens is the spring: planting, and covering, and more kneeling, then resurrection.

It’s going to be a wonderful Christmas Eve – I can feel it already! I can’t wait to gather in worship at WFPC with all my sisters and brothers, to light the candles, to pass the peace, to sing songs of celebration and of promise, to listen to words of inspiration, and to welcome the Lord of light (and love and grace and hope and possibility) once again.

I will say “YES!” in response to God’s invitation, and then I will begin again – on my knees, with dirt under my fingernails – remembering that the promise also anticipates my participation and that my participation, in turn, extends the promise.

Love, hope, peace, joy, grace, and promise to all this beautiful Christmas Eve! – DEREK

Christmas faith kingdom of God Our home photogrpahy The Story

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Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at, and there’s always something new in the works.

Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.

Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.

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