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Continuing Advent devotionals

Today's devotion from Goshen College:


By Jodi Beyeler, news bureau director/writer

THIS WEEK'S THEME: I will turn their mourning into joy


Elkhart County, where I live in Indiana, is experiencing some very hard economic times recently. To be sure, this is true for much of the country and the world right now, but with unemployment having suddenly jumped from under 5 percent to over 10 percent in a very short time here (making us the state leaders in this unwanted category), this is a new situation we find ourselves in.

We are used to high school educated workers being able to make more in a factory than if they got a college degree. We are used to non-profit organizations flourishing financially. We are used to the food pantries having fully stocked shelves for the relatively few people who needed that service. Many of us are used to not knowing people who are really struggling financially.

None of those realities are true anymore. In this place that has long been a land of opportunity for many, there is much mourning and lamenting.

But, it has also become an opportunity for many to turn pain into goodness. When we think everyone has enough, we become lax in our service and giving. When everyone is fending for themselves, we forget the necessity of a caring community or a compassionate God. When we have everything we need, we spend time and money on the frivolous. All of that is being turned on its head. We are all in this together now, with an awareness that others’ mourning impacts us, as does their joy.

I don’t wish anyone economic struggle or deprivation, but I do hope in 2009 we can each experience one of the gifts God desires for each of us: a community that cares about and for us in the midst of whatever we are experiencing. Though it seems like a bleak mid-winter, God's face is breaking through here in Elkhart County. Be attentive and you too will catch glimpses of the in-breaking.

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Goshen College
The views and beliefs expressed in the devotional piece prepared by each individual reflect their own spiritual growth journey and thoughts, and while created in a campus environment that encourages thoughtful questions and reflection on biblical Scripture and contemporary Christian themes, do not necessarily represent the official institutional positions of Goshen College or Mennonite Church USA.

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