Years ago while reading another devotion, I found this acronym for the word cocoa. It can be great for remembering to center our hearts on Christ. Let’s take some time and look at the word C-O-C-O-A.
C– is for Christ- In Matthew 1:18, we are all familiar with the story of Mary, a young girl, getting pregnant by the Holy Spirit while she was betrothed to Joseph. In order for Mary to not be rejected or scorned by the town, Joseph took Mary off to Bethlehem and there in an animal-scented, hay-filled stable, our Savior was born. Yet, in the busyness of the Christmas season, how many times do we lose sight or forget the story of the birth of Christ? Christ is the “reason for the season.”
Therefore during these days of scurrying before Christmas, let’s focus not on the shopping, running frantically here and there with a “to do” list, but on seeking God’s heart. Let’s remember His love to us was the greatest sacrifice ever made: His Son, born in human form, so we can have a relationship with the Almighty.
O– is for Ornaments- “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment…rather it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:3-4 NIV).
I found myself busily decorating all the rooms. Awaking very early and working until late in the evening, I had wavered in my time with the Lord. I wasn’t spending the time to adorn my inner spirit. I was missing out on seeking His heart and having beautiful conversations of praise and adoration with Him. I realized what was on the outside meant nothing when my heart was weak from not spending time with Him.
As we hang the ornaments and decorate for Christmas, let’s remember to adorn our hearts as well, by spending precious time on our knees, seeking His kindness, love, and patience.
C– is for Cheerful- “A happy heart makes a cheerful countenance…”
Christmas is meant to be a joyous season. Yet, for some, this season brings about depression and/or discouragement. One day, falling exhausted after a full day of busyness, I sat in a chair and my eyes yielded tears as I remembered my family members who are now with the Lord. “Why tears,” I asked myself, “for they are with the Lord?” I answered that question selfishly; I wanted them to be here with me, because I missed them so much. The Lord reminded me to think of all the good times we shared together at past Christmases, and to remember those memories will never cease to be stored in my memory bank. At some designated point in time, the celebrations I will witness and experience will be far greater than anything I have experienced here because of His mercy and His grace. Praise God, I have no more tears, but all cheer.
O– is for Overjoyed not overwhelmed- “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the stable they saw the Christ child with His mother, Mary. They bowed and worshipped and each then opened their treasure of gifts to Him” (Matthew 2:10-11, paraphrase).
Do you feel both overjoyed and overwhelmed during the Christmas season? Let’s shed the wrong overwhelmed for the right overwhelmed by rendering our hearts to getting caught up in His overwhelming goodness and faith to us. Then we will become overjoyed.
A– is for Abundance- “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly…” (John 10:10b).
Our family celebrates Christmas on Christmas Eve. I work side-by-side with the grandchildren the morning of Christmas Eve, baking the traditional “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake, followed by making them the traditional grilled cheese sandwiches that only I, Honey, can make. There is an abundance of laughter and excitement throughout the morning as the children periodically glance at the gifts wrapped under the tree and try to guess their gifts. No names are displayed on the front of the gifts because that is half the surprise. I marvel at my grandchildren, each one with their own special gifts. My heart is abundantly filled and running over with the inexpressible abundance of love I have for each one. My thoughts drift to how much more abundant is the Lord’s love for me, as well as for my “grands.” His love is so great, it is impossible to conceive. The abundance of His truths in my life sometimes causes me to become overcome with emotion. How great is Our God’s love…sometimes unspeakable.
Now my friends, are you ready to sit and drink your cocoa with thoughts not of sugar plum fairies or a “to do” list? Take the time to relax and feel the warmth of the C- O- C- O- A as it pours down to your tummy. Ponder as Mary did all the blessings of promise from that small baby who laid quietly in a manger.
“JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.”
Let’s bow and pray:
Lord, I am full of wonder and awe to know that You came to give us life abundantly. As Mary pondered, the shepherds stood in awe, and Joseph stood proudly, they all knew You were sent to save the world. During this busy season, help me remember to stop, take a deep breath, and recall the whole purpose of Christmas…You. The King of Kings, The Almighty, Prince of Peace, Comforter, Healer, etc. Thank You that You came to earth to restore us all. Amen.