Well, here we are at last! After a long and tiring journey to the manger, we have arrived. Nothing more can be done to make Christmas Day any better. The gifts have been wrapped (or not!), the cards have been sent (or not!), the baking is done (or not!) and the big bird is thawing in the refrigerator (or maybe you are skipping the turkey this year and going for ham and scalped potatoes instead). Never mind. It’s done—and probably you are too!
Christmas Eve provides us with a welcome opportunity to let all of that go—for the moment at least–and to settle into the hushed quiet of a stable and the birthing cries of a newborn. It’s such an old story and yet one that also sparkles with freshness each year. Every time we set up the Christmas crèche, a memory lurks in the shadows, reminding us of Christmases past and beckoning us into an uncertain, yet hopeful, future.
On Christmas Eve, we set aside our doubts about the virgin birth; we set aside our questions about a census that never took place; we set aside our incredulity at angels singing in the heavens. Instead, we enter into the wonder and awe of the moment, recognizing that something significant is happening here. A story of birth and new life. A story of courage in the face of daunting obstacles. A story of faithfulness and believing in dreams.
So, take this precious night and these precious moments, so that you may be bathed in the wonder of this night. Here are some reminders of wonder, in case you are still so exhausted from the commercialism of Christmas that you don’t believe in wonder any more.
- Every child born in this world is worthy of the gold, frankincense and spices offered to Jesus, as recorded in the Bible. And, so it is with wonder and awe, that we commit ourselves to cherishing and valuing every human life, ensuring that all have enough food, water and shelter to keep them safe.
- There is no lack of courage in the world. Mary and Joseph are a reminder of that—and so is Nelson Mandela, Malala, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr. Aung Sang Sui Kyi and all who work tirelessly for human rights among all peoples of the earth.
- People of good will who bring hope and “glad tidings of great joy” are a gift. It is too easy to become cynical and jaded about the human condition. But transformation can, and does, come from within the depths of our human hearts through folks who are determined never to give in to darkness and despair.
I invite you to join us in our Christmas Eve celebrations here at Knox.
We are making a day of it, opening our church to wonder and awe. Come and sit quietly in a back pew. Drink a cup of hot cider. Listen to the music that will rise to the rafters. Bring yourself and whoever is with you today. Most of all, bring wonder and awe. We can never have too much of that to share with each other. Click here for all the info about Knox Christmas Eve services.
Christmas Eve blessings, Linda