Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An Angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the Angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be to all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
When they had seen Him, they spread the word…and all who heard it were amazed…”
Luke 2: 8-18 (NIV)
It was a few years ago. Saturday was to be the coldest night of the year so far. She couldn’t have gotten far. We know she wouldn’t go outside. Maybe in the garage. I had just brought her home to spend the night with us, but she was nowhere to be found. As in times past when she had gotten out of our sight for a moment, Lynda and I approached the search in our usual calm manner with a decibel level and hysteria that would probably bring the neighbors running in a matter of minutes.
And then we found her—our precious little Granddaughter safely nestled in another room of the house in front of the manger scene arranged at the warm and welcoming base of a Christmas tree covered with sparkling ornaments and magical lights.
Calmer now, we watched her for a moment, enjoying the wonder and amazement in her angelic little face as her gaze danced between reflecting in her eyes the lights and ornaments, and the cradle in the manger holding the Baby she had positioned strategically. A similar position that 2,000 years earlier had changed everything in our world.
It was a moment of wonder for her that night that will forever be a moment to remember for us.
Looking back together to that time which we celebrate again in a few days, can you possibly imagine the amazement of those who were there over two-thousand years ago? When God’s Angel proclaimed the birth of the Savior—the long-awaited Messiah.
It too must have been a night of wonder, a night of amazement—that glorious moment when God came to earth. That incredible moment, when the Word became flesh in the form of the Babe of Bethlehem. A night when a Light came into the world that all the darkness of evil could never, and would never overcome.
And yet even while we seek to embrace the majesty of the moment, life just seems to keep on coming at us with its many faces of pain, disappointment, disillusionment, heartache and worry. Preparation for the joys of the celebration with family, friends and presents all-around, seems all too often mixed with feelings of melancholy memories, weariness and heartaches which at a minimum distract, yet often disappoint, and at worst move us toward despair.
A loved one is lost, an illness worsens with little or no earthly hope for reversal, a relationship ends, a dream slips from our grasp, or our finances finally run out. In the midst of the wonder and amazement of the moment, life goes on and on and on. In this most glorious and promising of times we often find ourselves wearily questioning, wondering, missing and reminiscing, while the world whirls obliviously past the shadows trying to creep into our hearts.
But hold it right there for just a moment, and now punch your head through all those clouds which seem to be encircling all you wish life would be, and all you know life should be. Punch your head through the clouds toward the irrepressible radiance of a moment of wonder and amazement. A time when we remember that even though life does at times trudge mindlessly and painfully along, the God Who created us and guides us, is the One whose birth we celebrate anew in a few days.
A birth that reminds us that no matter what we are facing, no matter what we’re going through, no matter the pain we feel, or the painful memories of the past—the light of His love shines through all the junk of our lives today and every day for all eternity.
That’s what we’re preparing for—with childlike eyes of wonder and amazement.
Robert Louis Stevenson’s biographer tells this story about the noted author when he was a young boy growing up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Stevenson was a sickly child of affluent parents and it seems that one afternoon his parents had left him with his nurse at home. Being sickly and without much opportunity to spend any time outside of his room, he had often amused himself by looking out his window on the streets below.
On this particular evening, as twilight descended upon the countryside, he had observed the lamplighter coming up the hill with his ladder and torch, lighting the lamps on the side of the street one by one as he came up the hill. He watched him for awhile, his thin little nose pressed tight against the window pane, when suddenly he turned from the window and exclaimed—
“Nurse, nurse, there’s a man out yonder punching holes in the darkness!”
And that’s what Christmas means—that a light, Jesus Christ, has come and punched holes in the darkness of our world, and the darkness of our lives. That’s why we celebrate Christmas—to remind us of that amazing love of God as revealed through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As the day approaches, and as we celebrate the day, might we stop for a moment of wonder and amazement, and allow that magnificent light to come into our lives once again today, tomorrow and every day, for the rest of our lives.
Merry Christmas dear family and friends.
It was, and always will be—a night of wonder.
In His Name–Scott
Copyright 2015. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.