I am currently sitting on a plane after a concert on my Love Has Come Christmas Tour. A bit tired, squished in my seat, and cold because apparently we need to make the airplane feel like a Minnesota winter to keep the holiday mood real. Oh, a blanket would be nice right now…
So with Delta-frostbite I’m trying to type out this devo for Second Sunday of Advent. The second candle on our traditional wreath represents love, a word we recognize as the heartbeat of God the Father. It’s actually who He is. There is so much we can write. The power of love, the abuse of the meaning of the word, and so much in between. So for our devo, I want you focus on what it feels like to be in the presence of the genuine, godly and what I would call advent love.
Let me introduce you to Lonna Grabenstien. Lonna is a woman who ministers at American Lutheran in Gothenburg, Nebraska. She is a wife of many years, a mom of three awesome children, and now a grandma to three grandchildren. I’ve known Lonna for most of the years of my music ministry. We just performed our Christmas concert at her church and loved is what comes to my mind.
From the first step out of our vehicle on our arrival to the closing of the door of the truck at our departure I witness from afar the act of loving people like Jesus talks about.
As soon as we arrive and Lonna appears in the picture, there are kids begging for her attention, and everyone gets not just a courtesy but full attention to whatever question they have or even just telling her a story even if it has no relevance to what’s going on.
She listens with more than patience. She listens with joy. It is amazing to see. It’s constant. It has a touch of chaos. Every student is affirmed and even blessed with touch and words that have a feeling of destiny. You would think Lonna would get worn down to a level of just being tolerant but there is no way that’s happening. Every child feels like her favorite. I think they are.
Then there are the older ones. The junior high, senior high, and adults. It’s the same thing. In every introduction of anyone who comes our way, she speaks words of beauty about each person like I’m meeting a dignitary or someone who is about to cure an awful disease. It’s not a sale; it’s not a pitch. It’s real passion and understanding for each person who walks up to us.
When the concert was over, my dear friend Lonna was at it again so pouring thank yous and blessings onto everyone who came for the evening event. And then my heart was touched by how during our loading out of our production gear, she would encourage me with more stories and words of how she could see God moving throughout the whole concert and that there were so many people who needed to hear what was said.
You probably know someone like Lonna in your life. They are out there, and we love to be around them. It’s truly attractive and inviting and fun to be around those who love with more than just niceness but with true passion for who you are.
We just worshiped on the second Sunday of Advent. It’s about love. We remember that God has sent His Son Jesus at Christmas not out of duty, obligation, or need but because of something else.
My question to you is this: Do you realize you could be a Lonna to someone else today? Right now? Like even as you are reading this, there is someone in your life who needs what you have and you can give it to them.
This is a straight-forward challenge, directive, commissioning to you this week–well, the next four days–go give something real, unconditional, powerful, through your words, actions, giving, time, effort to someone very specific in your world and do it because you can.
You have all training, skill, and resource necessary to succeed. You can not fail. Why? Because…
God is good all the time