Christmas carols can be heard in stores ever since the ‘dog days’ of summer or so it seems! When I owned a 1972 VW Super Beetle, which had a cassette tape player, I’d listen each December (not a month earlier!) to recordings of Christmas carol organ improvisations by John Detroy, the organist at my first church, who also played the ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ at New York’s Radio City Music Hall. Such a talented and gentle man.
One Detroy gem was a take on ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’. My wife and I have been to Bethlehem in Israel. Not so ‘little’ anymore. Bible scholars posit that ‘Bethlehem’ means ‘house of bread’. A name which celebrates one of the basics of life.
Now take a gander at Psalm 105, focusing on verses 37-41. The psalmist recollects Israel’s exodus from Egypt, and how God cares for His own, even in terrible places during turbulent times. God’s people, freed from slavery, now roam desert sands. They’re given promises though little else.
They’re tired, hot, hungry and thirsty– ‘They asked, and he (God) brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven. He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert’ (Ps. 105:40-41). Meat…bread…water. The basics.
This Christmas I’m challenged to thank God for all those basics in my life. The blessings He gives that rarely show up on my appreciation radar screen. Those mostly taken for granted. Now, we pause to thank the Lord.
For our dear Australian friends, Jack and Maggie, who always encourage me, saying how much these weekly devotions mean to them. For our newspaper delivery guy John, who often puts ours right next to our front door, especially on frosty mornings. For neighbor’s smiles and waves. For grandkids, who love coming to our home, even tolerating Silly Papa! And a wife who has so many wonderful qualities, including choosing to share life with the likes of me.
Now think of your own. Shouldn’t be too difficult. Take your time and enjoy remembering the Lord’s many basics, whatever and whoever. Being grateful feels pretty good, huh? Tastes like bread from heaven!
Thank you, Lord, for all your blessings this season and always. For Jesus most of all. Amen.