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Faces on Faith: Expectations

By REV. LARRY L. MARSHALL - | Jan 5, 2021

PHOTO PROVIDED Rev. Larry L. Marshall

I am sure many of you have seen the movie “A Christmas Story.” The lead character is a boy named Ralphie who dreams of what he wants for Christmas. Specifically, what dominates his mind is a certain BB gun. Well, Christmas morning arrives and after opening other presents, his father directs him to a hiding place of one more gift. It is the rifle he had hoped for. Every year when I watch this movie I remember my own dream of wanting a BB gun for Christmas. I can still remember my excitement, hoping that Christmas morning I would receive my heart’s desire. But there was no secret hiding place, and there was no BB rifle. I tried to appreciate all that I did receive but I could not hide my disappointment.

So what were you expecting? In spite of the good news of a vaccine, we know that many are grieving a loved one who died because of COVID-19. Others are grieving the loss of a job and worry where their next meal will come from. Still others are in danger of being evicted from their homes. A number of months ago I heard a pastor say that by this past fall there would be a tsunami of grief around the world.

In spite of all this bad news, many of us have been blessed. Many of us have been through the fire and in the end were able to overcome through faith in God and the generosity of others. That is the gift of living Christmas every day. The gospel writers shared the joy of the savior’s birth. It was and still is the greatest gift of all. It is God’s love touching our hearts that we might touch the heart of someone else.

What did we expect this Christmas? What do we expect for in 2021? How about a little bit of God’s love? This gift isn’t hiding in a corner; it is on display through the generous hearts of those who have experienced disappointment yet persevered, like you and me. Thank God for this wonderful gift.

“For I am convinced, that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39.

May you have a happy and blessed New Year.

The Rev. Larry L. Marshall is the pastor at the Captiva Chapel by the Sea.