category: Advent

Advent Devotion: Day 24

Tuesday, December 20

Genesis 21:1-21; Galatians 4:21-5:1

Most of us have a favorite Christmas movie at the top of our watch list during the holidays. One of the movies I loved growing up was “The Santa Clause.” Everyone that loves this classic knows that Scott Calvin, played by Tim Allen, goes outside to see what all the racket on the roof is, and to his surprise he finds Santa. Scott then plays a role in Santa’s untimely death as he startles the holiday icon, who trips and falls off the roof. Merry Christmas; Santa is dead.

If that weren’t startling enough, Scott watches Santa’s body disappear and, when he searches the outfit for an ID, he finds a card that reads, “If something should happen to me, put on my suit. The reindeer will know what to do.” Although donning the suit of a dead Santa wouldn’t be my next move, Scott puts on the suit and begins the adventure of his new life as, per the Santa Clause, he becomes the new Saint Nick.

Confusion abounds for Scott as he spends the rest of the movie trying to figure out how to live out his new, inescapable reality of being Santa, while still fulfilling his duties as a father, his job as an executive at a major company, and other expectations of the rest of his unraveling life.

What our red clad friend discovers as he accepts his circumstances is that he doesn’t have to give up who he was before he decided to put on those Santa pants. Even though he gains a Santa-bod, grows a face full of white Santa hair, and eventually must move north, he is no less a father or a businessman. He can still fulfill those roles while embracing a new one. Scott can do both.

In Genesis 16, Abraham is grappling with the discord between Sarah, Hagar, and their sons. Now that the couple are parents to Isaac, Ishmael is no longer the answer to the lingering question of blessing. It grieves Abraham that Sarah loathes Ishmael as she demands that Ishmael leave, never to return nor take part in an inheritance. 

As the passage continues, God meets Abraham’s anguish with a new promise. God would eventually surprise them with a different son in their old age. Undoubtedly God had already planned something improbable and unbelievable to fulfill a promise, but just because God had planned to use Isaac to bless the nations didn’t mean that God could not also bless Abraham’s first son. To bless Isaac would not mean to forget Ishmael. God can do both.

God keeps His word, and though we are grateful for His faithfulness, we serve a God who can do more than one thing. Just because God keeps his promises it doesn’t mean He cannot do more than He promises to do. This season, as always, may we look back to remember what God has done, and may we look forward to all the ways He will exceed our anticipations.

Nicole Hamrick
School of Divinity Graduate

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Advent Devotion: Day 23

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Advent Devotion: Day 26

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