Weekly Devotion 12-9-21

Weekly Devotion with Bill Mayall

In Matt Rawle’s book, The Heart That Grew Three Sizes: Finding Faith in the Story of The Grinch, he explores the faith themes in that iconic Christmas classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. One of the more interesting aspects of the study is what Rawle refers to as the “God box.” He notes that as he went through seminary and “learned Old Testament, New Testament, theology, and church history,” he began to metaphorically build his God box. I’m guessing that each of us likely has done something quite similar on our own faith journey, even if in a more informal or more subconscious way. This got me to thinking…do I have a God box? Should I have one? And, if so, is it large or small? Should my box be permanent and “fixed”…or malleable? Should it be inclusive or exclusive? If I took “inventory” of what might be in my God box…how would it align with Scripture or Church doctrine and theology? What would it take to bust open my box and redo it? Or, perhaps most importantly of all…would I discover, as the author suggests in the book, that perhaps God doesn’t fit in a box at all?

Some of us may find that last notion troubling or confusing. It certainly made me stop and think. After all, if you are like me, there is a certain comfort level and peace of mind in having a degree of certainty in our lives! But then…I think about the many times in the Bible where Jesus did what...made people uncomfortable. How many times did he cause cognitive dissonance on the part of the Disciples, the Scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, etc., offering them insightful parables (among other things) that showed them not only the error of their thinking and actions, but offered keen insights into the expectations he has for his followers as well.

The Advent and Christmas season offer a useful time for reflection. They are for me seasons of hope. Hebrews 11:1 tells us, Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. As we listen to and sing some of the songs this Christmas season, let us reaffirm our belief that good things will happen with faith in a higher power. Perhaps Rawle is right… we really don’t need to build a God box. “Hope,” he suggests, “is a destination when you finally discover that you don’t need to build a God box anymore because you finally realized that God is bigger” than any box.

Prayer: Lord, as we get ready to celebrate Your birth, may we recommit ourselves to serving you and keep your Word. As we look upon the manger scene this Christmas season, may we receive inspiration from the words of Romans 15:13, May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

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