2019 Advent Devo: The Simple Life

From my infancy until my teenage years, 16 or 17, I spent many of my summers on my grandparent’s cattle farm. They lived a simple life on their 160-acre homestead.. There was no running water or indoor plumbing. Water was pumped either from the cistern next to the house or drinking water came from the spring pump my grandpa built on top of a hill in the 1930’s. They used coal in the pot belly stove for heat in the cold winters and counted on the 200-year-old oak trees surrounding the house to keep them cool in the hot summers. It was an uncomplicated, self-sufficient way of life. They were not simpletons by any means, but every day they did live a simple lifestyle.

Grandmother milked the cow, Betsy, twice a day and kept the chickens laying eggs; Grandpa butchered the hogs and cattle to keep food on the table for them and the farm hands. You went to bed soon after the sun went down and you were up and dressed ready to work when you came down the stairs for breakfast before the sun began to shine. I loved every summer and holidays I spent on that farm. It taught me more about what mattered and was real about life and death than anything else I have ever done; fishing in the pond, flying kites, seeing faces in the clouds, working hard, being with family and friends, feeling deeply loved and accepted.

Jesus lived a simple, uncomplicated lifestyle. His message of God His father and of heaven was direct and uncomplicated. His message of salvation and of being the Son of God never wavered or was burdened down with details or complexities.  We see this in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10:21 where we read Jesus saying “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”

This single verse comforts me. It expresses a profound insight into how Jesus shared His message of salvation and joyful living and purpose in life. It speaks to me in the midst of my very busy, very complicated and distracted way of “living” in the culture I sometimes find myself. We live in the age of technology and intellect and moral freedom. We live in an age where money and intellectual superiority often gives people the illusion of power and privilege to get their own way, right or wrong.

In the wisdom and love of God as expressed through Jesus Christ, His message of salvation comes to us in the universal, most common starting point of a new born child in a manger surrounded by mother and father and magi from the East bringing gifts. It is a picture adored by little children.  The story of the birth of Jesus Christ can bring comfort and well being if we slow down long enough to hear.

You are loved!
Steve Mayberry