Straw Stars

ADVENT DEVOTION

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro

copyright 2020

This simple straw Christmas star represents love. Yes, there are many symbols we could draw from it of Jesus who is the ultimate visible expression of God’s love. Yet, we are the ones who represent God’s love on earth today and by the power of the Spirit we pass this one to the other and back again. Never perfectly, but especially when with pure intent, the Lord works through it to communicate His love in practical ways to a weary world.

God is spiritual. Yes. But this God who made us and is always with us, is immensely practical. He wants to meet even more practical needs if we will just choose to listen and have courage to obey.

This straw is a 44 yr old kiss of such love and care, which the Lord allowed me to receive as a still-treasured gift when I was 17 and far from home in 1976. I was a foreign exchange student living in Germany with a family I had come to love in a village in the southwest. At every quarter of an hour the village church bell would sound, marking off the passing hours. On Sundays the sound of multiple bells would begin tolling about ten minutes before weekly Mass. From out of their homes parishioners would stream and walk to Mass.

During Advent that year I was invited to the rectory for afternoon coffee time (which meant delicious German Christmas cookies and stollen too). As the pastor and I had a nice chat, his housekeeper entered and brought a gift for me. It was a collection of star ornaments she had made with traditional straw and string. I had never seen ornaments such as these before coming to Germany and was thrilled to have some. I was touched even more deeply by Fräulein Kirchner’s gift.

44 years later, though a bit worse for wear, these still hold places of honor every year on our Christmas tree. And every year I remember Fräulein Kirchner and her gift to me. And how loved it made me feel that an almost-stranger in a foreign country had thought of me and taken the time to make this gift.

44 years and still I remember. She seemed as if she could be well into her 70s when she made the stars. She passed into the arms of Jesus many years ago. But an act of kindness which may have seemed small to her and certainly in measured small in a world focused on larger-seeming affairs, continues to loom large for me. An act of love. A gift of time and talent given freely. She had seen this foreign American and chosen to be kind.

Kindness. Perhaps the largest thing we can do. And perhaps that with some of the broadest, longest reaching effect. Simple kindness one to the other and back again. Until everyone receives and each one gives. Over and over. This spreads the love of Christ. Individuals are changed by it. You. Me. The world. One act of kindness at a time.

Check out ONLY JESUS REMAINS–Christmastime devotions for tending wounded hearts. Here on the blog or listen to the audio recordings on YouTube.

Listen to the Christmas Worship album. Now online.

Follow Elizabeth via her Spiritual Armor and Ammo Facebook page

Author: Elizabeth Fulgaro

I am a God-seeker--a Jesus-worshipper--a Holy Spirit follower. I create songs, devotions, prayers, books and Bible studies to give words with which to get to know God more. For you. Its for one-on-One encounter unto transformed, transcendent living. This is not my vocation. I am not professional. I am a real, ordinary person just looking to do what God put me here to do. (You have a unique purpose too.) So I am called to the work. It is not my income source, but my gift to those who find it blessing. Eagles Nest Foundation sponsors all projects for you. The result: pure, clean spiritual nutrition to feed that deep insatiable spiritual hunger which eventually overtakes each of us and galvanizes you to the life God has for you. This life is purposeful. Exceptional. You--yes, you--are called to something greater and more satisfying in His service. So it is hoped you'll try this spiritually dense nutrition and find it to be a personal blessing. However, the goodness of God-following doesn't stop there. He uses those who seek Him to be His love and care (justice, mercy, advocate, kindness) very tangibly in the lives of those around you. Not by your power but by His. His ideas. God ideas. Not just good ideas. To be part of changing the world, if you will let Him. You learn to just follow where He leads. That if you listen, He will teach you to hear His voice and then when you obey His inner promptings you will become His incredible hands and feet in this hard world. These materials will help! They will help you aim your life towards God in a way you never look back. You will not be the same. He will become the River in your desert spaces and you will become a conduit of this same River of refreshing, replenishing Water of Life to others. Find a prayer. Pick a blog post. Read a book. Be led deeper into the Bible. Select a song which resonates and use it and use it again to go close and ever closer to the God who longs to draw you near. Oh, and don't be tempted to think I'm a crazy over-spiritualized loony...My background is financial planning and counseling. Almost 40 years of it. To choose to believe in God is not to leave practicality and reason behind, but to learn that there is that which goes beyond it and includes it, unto true life fulfillment beyond all your dreams for the one who keeps seeking Him. I am a third generation Californian. I am a person to whom family means everything. The only priority higher is God. The foothills of the Sierra Nevada are my home. It is here the 1849-1856 Gold Rush is still glorified. Easy money? Actually only for the few. Even though I was raised in the Church, it took me ten years of doubting God even existed to realize that without Him, no matter how much of this life's "stuff" is accumulated, I actually have nothing. To come to know that all those who chased after gold are dead and all those who still chase stuff will be dead. That's when I became a God-seeker. Looking for that more. And Eureka! (This is California's state slogan and means I found it.) I found God...or rather, I discovered He was there and had been there waiting for me to look for Him the whole time. May you discover more of Him for you, greater flourishing life and greater flourishing for all in the world as well. God bless you! ~Elizabeth

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s