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Weekly Devotion

December 13 2020

“And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his
mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then,
opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and
frankincense and myrrh.” Matthew 2:11 (ESV)

I have been enamored with trains for as long as I can remember.
Whether it was my mom telling stories about riding the train to Memphis or my dad telling us
about loading up the milk jugs, I could never get enough. And even today the sound of a
locomotive’s horn carries me back to warm summer evenings at my grandmother’s, lying in bed
with the windows open as the big attic fan pulled the evening air through the house.
One particular Christmas journey on the train is among my happiest of memories. Hurrying
to find our train in New Orleans became a movie scene as we ran to get on board just as the
train was pulling out! Once on board the bits of ribbon and wrapping paper peeking out from
various storage bins only added to the excitement. The best part, however, was waiting for me
in the rounded end of the observation car. There sat a little Christmas tree, shimmering as it
swayed gently with the clickity-clack of the wheels and the view of the steadily receding tracks
behind us combining to transport me into a world of promise and adventure.
And so Christmas memories beckon us once again into their warm embrace. Yet, I wonder,
what is it that we all truly long for? Ultimately, Christmas is what we make it—and we’re in a
position to ask more of ourselves and of each other than festively wrapped gifts. Like the
biblical Wise Men, let us offer Jesus Christ a gift. Let us put Christ into Christmas this year by
trying to become more like Him. Doing so brings meaning to much more than just the season; it
brings deep meaning and purpose to our lives. And that’s better than any train trip you can

Rev. Neville Vanderburg, Clarksdale, MS
Prayer: God of love, your son, Jesus, is your greatest gift to us. Help us walk in that love during
the weeks of Advent. And as we wait and prepare for his coming, let us ponder what gift we can
give him this year; in Jesus’ name. Amen.