I’m sitting here in the quiet with my tea and my Bible, enjoying the twinkle lights and decorations….and enjoying the fresh air from open windows. It’s a rare treat in Ohio indeed to have your windows open on December 24th without freezing.
My people are all still asleep on their beds. And I’m remembering. And imagining.
I’m remembering that first Christmas night. I may not have been there, but I’ve read it and studied it and imagined it so many times it feels like I was.
The King was born, not in a palace but in a barn. The shepherds in the field saw the veil hiding the heavens pulled back and heard choirs of angels praising God and declaring good news of great joy. They ran off to find Him and I wonder – did someone have to stay behind with the sheep? Did someone miss out?
The star led the wise men to Him. I wonder how bright it was. It must have been amazingly brilliant. That’s why I wanted a star for the top of my tree. When I look at it, I remember – wise men seek Him still.
As I was on my third batch of cinnamon rolls yesterday, Alli came in the kitchen and said, “Mom, you sure are determined.” And I was. I was in get-it-done mode. And I told her, “The reason you have Christmas traditions is because we’re determined. Because we make it happen.”
And we do. We think about it and plan for it and save and shop and bake and wrap and decorate. It takes hours and weeks of preparation that end up in an explosion of chaos and joy and presents and laughter (and sometimes drama) on Christmas morning. And it’s so worth it.
And that’s exactly what that first Christmas morning (was He born in the morning?) was. Adam and Eve messed up. They wrecked intimate relationship with God for all of us. And for thousands of years God planned and spoke and promised and worked and prepped and prophesied and sent – Jesus, the best gift ever – to restore intimate fellowship with Him.
And that first Christmas was God making it happen.
We take it for granted sometimes. He’s Emmanuel. God is with us now. He never leaves. He never fails. I’m never alone. His presence abides within. But that wasn’t always the case. For thousands of years man couldn’t touch His presence. At all. Ever. Only one man and only once a year could go into His very holy presence. But now…..it’s open to all. He’s here with us. Always. Forever.
I’m a mix of emotions today. I’m thankful – feeling so blessed that my family is healthy and intact yet again this Christmas. I’m feeling nostalgic, missing my brother as we celebrate yet another Christmas with him in heaven and praying for all those I know that this is their first year without a loved one. It’s hard. I remember, and I’m praying for you.
My heart is broken for our friends and church members who said goodbye last night for the last time to their husband, father, friend. Not a Merry Christmas for them….we are praying for you.
I’m full of anticipation for the reactions of my husband and kids as they open their gifts tomorrow. My heart is full because we are so blessed – we were able to buy them gifts. I don’t take that for granted – so many can’t.
So, I’m taking a minute in the quiet to pray. To remember. Reflect. Embrace the stillness – the calm before the storm. And to worship. I don’t know where I’d be without Him….but I’m sure it’d have something to do with the words “big fat mess.”
He holds it all together – He holds me together – and without Him there would be no Christmas at all. And the best gift again this year? His constant abiding presence within.
O come let us adore Him.