Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”
Then Herod…sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.”
When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him.
Matthew 2: 1-11 (NKJV)
As I sit here the morning sun is beginning to spray golden fingers of possibility across the room as it filters through the blinds covering the windows to my office. In the distance you can see the frost glistening silver across open fields stretching well beyond view, while the thermometer registers twenty-five degrees, explaining the icy layer on the surface of the bird bath which Lynda always makes sure is full for any creatures still out and about.
And here we are two days out from Christmas, a time when we remembered—through gatherings and gifts, dinners and deserts, and gleeful chorus of tiny tots excited that Santa Claus indeed stopped by—the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem, in a manger, for you and for me over two-thousand years ago. And I wonder in the days ahead if we will remember where we have been.
I wonder if the people we come in contact with—in our homes, churches, work and communities—will be able to tell where we have been. I wonder what we will take away from this time—where once again all the busyness of preparation finally unfolded into that day—just two days ago as we paused at the manger.
In anticipation of that day, our Granddaughters—Hannah and Ellie Kate—helped us to prepare our home by picking out two live Christmas trees and then, with the traditional Christmas music playing in the background, decorated them with ornaments and lights. In addition, they helped us with hanging evergreen wreaths and bannister swags, and arranging Santa Claus figures and Nutcrackers up and down both sides of the staircase and elsewhere around the house, decorating their bedroom tree, and then arranging several of our Nativity scenes at the base of our Christmas trees.
A few days after that, our younger Granddaughter, Ellie Kate, went around and placed little ½ sheets of paper as price tags on various items around the house (she and Hannah like to play store at our house): “All the Santa’s—30 cents”; “Flowers—11 cents”; “Reef [Wreath]—15 cents”; “10 cents—Santa’s in ‘slay’s’”. If you were a serious purchaser, Ellie would gladly decode her marked price for you, to arrive at the actual price of any item.
And stuck directly onto the shiny gold star atop the five-foot tree (which she herself had picked out a few weeks ago), was a Post-it note with the price marked as:
We found out later that Ellie had climbed onto the back of my arm-chair sitting next to the tree, leaned out and onto the tree ever-so-gently, reaching out to very end of her little arm to place the Post-it note price tag on the star. Below the star and at the base of the tree was one of the Nativity sets which the girls had arranged, including, of course, a cradle with the Baby Jesus.
And by her careful system of pricing, the star which marked the spot of Jesus’s birth, sitting on the top of the tree and above the Baby, received the most expensive price. Of all the things she put a price tag on—Santa’s, “Reefs”, flowers, and “Santa’s in slays”, the star which marked the place of Jesus’ birth—is what she placed the most value upon.
What about us? What do we place the most value on in our lives?
Maybe that is what will determine what we take away from this moment of celebration. Maybe that is what will determine whether people will know where we have been. Maybe that will determine whether we ourselves will remember where we have been. Maybe it will all depend on the value which we put on that moment in time—on the birth of the Babe of Bethlehem—which we celebrated again just two days ago.
Do we recognize the importance of that moment in history? Do we recognize the importance of the moment in our own lives? Are the decisions and direction of our lives guided by the God who sent His one-and-only Son to be born in a manger, in a stable, for you and for me, and our children and grandchildren?
Look, I don’t know what frosty fields or freezing temperatures you are facing at this moment in your life. I don’t know what you’re facing as we’re about to turn the page together to look into a brand New Year. But I do know that this celebration, of just a few days ago, has not just been any day, or any experience, any celebration, or any Christmas. It has been a moment where we have been with Jesus—and our lives should and can be different, and our approach to all of life’s ups and downs, with its valleys and mountains, can and should be different.
If we will only stop to remember where we have been, and Who we have been with.
Today, tomorrow and every day, our lives can, and should be different—If we’ll stop long enough to remember the importance and eternal value of the moment.
What value do you place on the Star—on the Moment of God coming to earth—on the Babe of Bethlehem?
The answer can make all the difference in your life.
In His Name—Scott