Take time to rest in the comfort of the Lord today.
Luke 2:1-20 (NRSV)
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 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.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
If you haven’t already done so, it is time to read the story of Jesus’ birth. Here, on Christmas Eve, it is important to read those words again and attempt to do so as if it is new, fresh—as unusual as it would seem if you were reading it for the first time.
It is hard to read Luke’s version without thinking of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Throughout the entire episode, Charlie is searching for the true meaning of Christmas. Everyone around him is filled with busy-ness and he knows something doesn’t seem right. Linus, with his light blue blanket that he carries everywhere, quiets down all the noise and comes center-stage, a light shines down on him, and he recites, from memory, a portion of today’s passage. Everything stops. All is still as the Word of God is spoken, as everyone is reminded of what Christmas is really about—who Christmas is really about. As you move throughout the many activities of Christmas Eve, stop for a moment to read the story and remind yourself.
Blessed Messiah, we celebrate you today as we move from a time of waiting to a time of welcoming you into our lives once again. May we do so in a way that is not rote or stale, but new and exciting. May we hear the news of your birth as if for the first time and may we drop everything to come and worship you. Amen.
Go with God.