Christmas is such a busy time. It started with non-stop Hallmark Christmas movies. Next, it was Christmas displays popping up in stores with twinkling, colored lights competing with Halloween pumpkins. Then trailers full of Christmas trees bound for living rooms far and wide. Also, Christmas concerts, holiday gatherings and festive food including lutefisk. Soon, non-stop Christmas tunes will be piped in from every store speaker and digital device we own. We know the drill.
In contrast, the Christmas story of the birth of Jesus happens unnoticed by the world. Angels proclaimed good news. Shepherds became evangelists and witnesses to the birth of God’s Son, named Jesus. Mary and Joseph appear to be mere spectators, but Mary, in the tradition of so many of the women in God’s story of the Bible, knows this is so much more than what her eyes see, and her ears hear as she ponders these things in her heart.
Every Christmas Eve, I return to church for the 11:00 p.m. service. I walk across the parking lot, and the whole town is quiet as most Christmas gatherings have ended with dreams of sugar plums and Christmas feasts. Some years the stars are out. As I take a moment to look at the night sky, I reflect on how the light of those stars is hundreds, if not thousands of years old. I imagine that the star light which my eye sees, probably has been traveling the universe from the time of Jesus’ birth and beyond.
Soon, worshipers arrive. Family members from far away renew long held relationships of those they rarely see. College students, who have been away, gather in clusters updating each other on their journeys. Relationships are not bound by the length of time.
Then, we worship. We light candles. We sing “Silent Night”. We hear the Christmas story. For a moment we are not busy. We are like those in the story. Tired. Surprised. In need of some good news. Touched by the reality that this is about so much more than what our eyes see, and our ears hear. All we can do is ponder these things in our hearts. This is the miracle of Christmas.
Therefore, engage in the fun and busyness of this Christmas season. Also, remember those for whom this is a tough time of year of loneliness and grief. Yet, no matter where this time of year finds us, let us also take time to not be busy. This is the miracle of the Christmas story. It makes us stop. It makes us wonder. It lets us see ancient starlight and our imaginations collapse the space between the birth of Jesus and our own earthly existence.
Thus, good news and God’s salvation of the world, including us, now comes to be with us, no matter what life may throw in our way. So, be still. Stop. Know that Christmas, the birth of Jesus, is for you. Merry Christmas!
Keeping Christ Central
Pastor Rolf G. Morck