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Christmas Eve Devotional by Rev. Todd Boling

Merry Christmas Eve!
May you take time today, in the midst of the rush, to linger at the manger for a moment.  May you take time stand in awe of the miracle of God come to live among us.  May you feel God with you! 
Today’s devotional comes from Rev. Todd Boling.  Todd is an associate chaplain at TCU.  He has been at TCU for nearly 4 years.  He came to us from Kentucky and a background of college and hospital chaplaincy.  Here at TCU, among other things, he focuses on spiritual wellness, interfaith communities and dialogue, and guiding our campus ministries and organizations.  Todd also sits on numerous committees and boards across campus. If you know Todd, you know that he cares deeply for this community.  You will often find him sitting down for long conversations with students, faculty or staff to really hear how they are. Christmas is about the gift of God’s presence with us.  Todd embodies the gift of presence.  Today may you hear God’s whisper of loving presence into your life through his words!
Merry Christmas Eve,
Allison Lanza
TCU Associate Chaplain
advent 3
An Advent Devotional, by Rev. Todd Boling
Luke 2:6-7
“While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
Ask any of my friends and family and they will tell you… I’m a planner.  When it comes to any particular event or significant period of time, I like to have a blueprint in place that will help me know how to make the most efficient use of my time and energy.  Some people might find that to be too rigid or restrictive, but I find it comforting.  And nothing frustrates me more than when a well-conceived plan falls apart at the seams.  It’s those moments that open the door for errors or mistakes, which in my mind easily makes the jump to “failure”… a dirty word for me, if ever there was one.
When reading the story of Jesus’ birth, I’ve often wondered what Mary and Joseph were thinking and feeling as they arrived in Bethlehem and were unable to find the living space that maybe they were hoping for.  While we don’t know their exact plan after arriving in Bethlehem, I’m pretty sure it didn’t include laying Jesus in a feeding trough after he was born.  Regardless of his make-shift crib, Jesus birth was no less miraculous.  His arrival on this earth was made no less meaningful.  His first moments and cries no less special.  It was that powerful moment that ultimately changed life as we know it, and it didn’t take everything going according to plan to make it so. 
Tomorrow as you get busy gathering with friends and family, orchestrating feasts for the masses, and making sure that everyone has the holiday experience they were hoping for, I invite you to pause.  In that moment stop thinking about what comes next, or perhaps what didn’t quite pan out earlier that day.  PAUSE.  Set aside the plan.  Breathe in the hope of a newborn savior.  Remember the peace that he brings with him.  Celebrate the joy that his birth offers.  And share the love that inspired it all.
Let us pray
God, in this moment we pause to offer you our thanks for your most precious gift – the gift of your son.  Remind us to not get so busy planning the celebration of his birth, that we lose sight of the gift itself.  And help to us share your love with others today, and throughout the upcoming year.  Amen.


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