Joy to the World
Katherine R. Cottle, She Speaks Graduate

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

Uh-oh, my son had begun the dreaded potty dance. He had gotten so engrossed in the beautiful, giant, Christmas ornaments suspended from the shopping mall ceiling that he totally ignored his almost 4 year-old bladder. It was warning him to get to the potty. We were only seconds away from an accident, without a change of clothes.

Doctors had recently given my little son a great big label: Pervasive Developmentally Delayed. Simple translation: he learns differently than most and things that “typically developing” children are able to do easily, he finds challenging. For example, being able to recognize that his body needs to go to the potty and communicating his need to me. I had 20 other things to accomplish in the mall and I was not prepared for this.

Thanks to a mother’s ability to quickly maneuver through crowds and leap tall mounds of Christmas presents in a single bound, we made it to the restroom just in time.

Frustration began to overwhelm my heart. I wasn’t just overwhelmed by the pressure of the things I had on my to-do list, but also by my son’s struggle with being able to recognize and verbally acknowledge his needs. Lord, will he ever be able to tell me what is going on in his head? How are we going to reach him?

As we were washing our hands, he suddenly began to sing with all his heart, “Joy to the world, the Lord has come, let earth receive her King.” Where was this coming from? I wondered. Quieting my frustrated mind, I slowed down to listen. The song was playing over the intercom. I had totally tuned it out.

My beautiful little boy with his great big label had heard what I had not. Women coming out of their stalls smiled and sang with him. I think the angels would have included us in their choir that day.

In that moment I felt the Lord assure me that He had created my son and knew his needs and exactly how to reach him. After all, this is what Christmas is all about. Our loving Father, knowing our need of the gift of salvation, reached the world through Jesus Christ. Joy to the world, the Lord has come. Let us receive our King!

Dear Lord, Thank you for knowing my needs, sending Your Son and creating a way to reach me. This Christmas, please help me quiet my frustrations and busy to-do list and listen to Your song. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Can Martha Have a Mary Christmas? by Brenda Poinsett

31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers

Join us for more Everyday Life encouragement

Application Steps:
Write down the names of two people to pray for this Christmas season. Pray that they will hear the message of the carols this season, and realize the full grace extended to them through Jesus Christ.

Reflection Points:
In a busy setting have you ever stopped to listen to what is being said
around you?

What is your joy level today?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”(NIV)

Matthew 6:8, “for your Father knows what you need…” (NIV)

1 Timothy 1:15, “…Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners…” (NIV)

© 2008 by Katie Cottle. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for this thought provoking devo. Interesting that God uses our children to teach us so many lessons. I loved your story about your sweet son singing in the restroom. What a darling, precious boy!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the sweet message,we sometimes don't hear what is "playing over the intercom" many of God's people are crying out for help and we don't hear them,or we don't want to hear them.
is there someone who you know who is crying out for help and you don't hear them,or don't want to hear them,WAKE UP and spread the CHRISTmas joy.God bless!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today's devotion touch the very core of my soul. My 17 year old son has autism. Needless to say, I know too well the fears and frustrations that come with having a child with different needs. During these past years I have experienced a true roller coaster of emotions. However, I have seen miracles in his life. If I had been able to see him the way he is now, maybe I wouldn't have cried so much when I first heard the diagnosis. I believe with all my heart that God loves him, that he is perfect in God's eyes and that our Lord Jesus has prepared a place for him in heaven. In the meantime, I enjoy his accomplishments no matter how small they may seem to those who take everything for granted. He is a true example of perseverance for our family and he looks forward to each day with enthusiasm. He too loves Christmas, the true meaning of Christmas, and enjoys it to the fullest. I thank God for sending him to me to love and cherish and to teach me humility, appreciation, hope, true joy... I could go on an on.
From mother to mother a big hug to all the women who are caring for a special needs child.
God bless you!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the reminder to slow down and take the time to listen. November and December are so hectic with trying to get everything done on time, making sure we spend enough time with our children, and making sure the rest of the family knows they're being thoughtful. But what we forget the most is to take the time to go slowly and listen. Thanks for the reminder that this isn't the season of frustration but the reason to celebrate Christ and His indescribable gift!!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the Devotion. It touched my heart. My son, now 8, is similar but not diagnosed. I struggled went thru heartaches etc etc. But I surrendered it all to God and told Him, this is not my battle but yours Lord. And you know what once I did that God helped us thru it. He assured me that "we are more than conquorers, through Him who loved us." Rom 8:37
Now my son is able to communicate well, so much that it is hard to believe what he was in the past. The people who know him from before are surprised to see him. We are not without hope, coz we believe in a God who sent His son to deliver us. God bless you.

Blogger Becca said...

Thank you for the reminder that God created my son just the way he is for a reason. It's hard and he's frustrating to parent and I despair he will ever learn the lessons we're trying to teach him. But I don't have to know or understand God's plan to trust that He has one and that it's the best plan for us.

Blogger Growth in God said...

Oh wow, how true. Thank you for sharing this. Boy do I remember days like that, our middle son had that same problem. Funny how easily kids can just change the mood to where our hearts need to be. God Bless

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I sobbed my way through it. Our 3 1/2 year old was diagnosed with PDD just 2 months ago and is scheduled for some other inpatient testing at the end of this week. I have been learning to appreciate the little things that he notices and appreciates that I often take for granted and that part is an amazing gift. The part that meant the most to me was being reminded that my loving Father provided what I needed most through his Son and that He will provide exactly what we need to go through the testing and all that we face in the future. It redefines hope.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Boy, can I relate, not only to the devotion, but to the comments posted. I have an 11 year old son who was given the PPD label when he was around 2 - 3 years old, and I was naive enough to not know what it meant or how to cope with it. But God has helped him with every struggle and challenge he's faced, and he's now a fairly normal (if there is such a thing) 6th grader, who enjoys making weird noises and faces with his friends. I have been able to share what God has done with countless public school teachers because of his "label". We all have our challenges, he's fortunate enough to have his seen, understood, and helped early in life.

Blogger Hazel said...

Joy in my life? What joy?
Oh boy, that was a challenge to me. To find joy in my life which at the moment seems so dull, dreary and devoid of anything that matters. But it's there, underneath and I just needed you to tell me so.
Thank you

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