Devotionals
 

Devotionals are short essays written by GSLC members and staff that explore the ways the Holy Spirit works within our every day lives.  There are several ways we invite you to use these devotionals:

  • Make them a part of a prayer practice - read a devotion and consider the ways that Christ has worked similarly in your life or works in unexpected ways.
  • Make them a part of a journaling practice - read a devotion and journal about what the Holy Spirit is stirring in you as you reflect on the essay.
  • Use them as a reminder that God works in all things, the bad and the good.

With over 400 available devotions, you can use these daily, weekly, or monthly.  It's up to you!  We just hope that by reading these inspiring stories provided by Good Shepherd's flock you are able to better see where Jesus is present in all things!  Thank you to all of our members that have provided devotionals throughout the past couple of years!

 
Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion by Kellie Grabenbauer

All hearts go home at Christmas. For me, home is a small town in Iowa; the kind that “rolls up the streets at night” as my Dad would say. I can picture the quiet town, the inviting warmth of our small church’s candlelight service, and the fields stretching to the north, stars dotting the sky above. This vision is why O Little Town of Bethlehem is one of my favorite hymns. 

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.

Yet in the dark streets shineth, the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight
.

These words were written by renowned preacher and Northern abolitionist Phillips Brooks in the years following the Civil War. Spiritually worn out and trying to make sense of the world, he arranged a sabbatical to the Middle East. In Bethlehem on Christmas Eve 1865, he wondered at his overwhelming connection to the time and place of Christ’s birth. His experience in the remote village that evening later inspired his lyrics.* 

It’s that last line of this verse that resonates with me these days. 

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

AND is a powerful word. It gives equal weight to what comes before and after. Hopes AND fears. Human experience means we encounter both joy and struggle on a daily basis. In this way, we’re not so different from our ancient friends. The bible is peppered with stories of people whose faith was tested, people who had questions, people who suffered. AND yet they had faith, AND love for each other, AND the peace that comes from knowing God. Jesus came to us, baby AND king, human AND divine, to meet us where we are. As Christians, we celebrate Christmas AND Easter. One doesn’t make sense without the other. Having an AND in my faith journey keeps me returning to the manger and the cross - AND is the space in-between where my faith grows. 

I feel the past and the future stretched out from a single point on Christmas Eve. His birth has been celebrated across centuries, from grand cathedrals to simple churches. For me, lighting the Silent Night candles is where “all the years are met in thee tonight.” It’s a communion of saints, where my pew gets a little crowded with those I hold in my heart. Though my grandparents and mom are gone, I can see their candlelit eyes in the faces of my children. I know from the flurry of texts that my siblings are bundling their own kids into services across the country. It’s not a stretch to picture my near-grown children doing the same in the future. Like Phillips Brooks, each generation lays its own hopes and fears at the manger in Bethlehem. 

During this season, I’ll take a deep breath, gather up my ANDs, and carry them to a little town in the past. Where will your heart go this Christmas? 

*Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas. Ace Collins. 2001 

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2 comments on article "Daily Devotion by Kellie Grabenbauer"

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Heidi Johnson

These past 2 years have been difficult in so many ways for so many people. It's good to be reminded of our "ANDS"!


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Buzz Dorward

One of the best devotions I have read. So thought-provoking. I was sad when I got to the end!!

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