Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9: 6 (KJV)
Even if I wanted to wrap myself in the quiet darkness of the early morning, with five windows in my upstairs office the morning’s sunshine has a way of breaking through into the sanctuary I have created with my thoughts. The moments of sitting alone in that darkened corner of my world wondering, planning, a bit anxious about what today and tomorrow will bring are always penetrated by that incessant light.
I wonder if there’s a message there—from long ago—we need to remember or learn.
That morning so long ago didn’t attract large crowds. Just three camel-riding Kings with some gifts, a few shepherds in the fields nearby, and some rather ordinary barn animals relegated to the manger out behind the Inn. The manger which was to be the site of that momentous morning of so long ago. Hardly a response you would see from us today, right? Maybe word of that morning hadn’t gotten out yet. Maybe it would have fallen on deaf ears anyway.
After all, there had been a long period of waiting for something like that morning. Too long. Almost to the point of causing one to give up on it ever happening.
The last four-hundred years had seen no prophet in Israel. Generation after generation had been covered by a period of spiritual famine, wandering, struggling, and succumbing all too often to the temptations of the moment. It was a long period of waiting, emptiness and, at times, hopelessness. And yet in some infrequent moments there was the echo of that reminder from Isaiah from long ago, stirring once again an expectancy of hope.
And then it happened—Bethlehem morning. A star stood bright in the sky penetrating the long darkness of their morning; of many of their mornings. And our world was to be forever changed.
I wonder if we can truly identify with those events of so long ago, and with those who waited for so long for the promised Messiah. It’s all too real that today we also have our own periods of waiting, emptiness and, at times, seasons of hopelessness eerily similar to those periods of the past. But then we remember the star of Bethlehem morning, and the gathering that is going on at the manger. And as we remember, an expectancy begins to build within us pulling back the darkness of the morning which still remains in our lives.
Someone has lost a precious loved one, and this is the first Christmas without them by your side. Someone has succumbed again to a temptation they long-ago swore off and thought they had conquered. Someone is having difficulty connecting with their children. Someone watches as their child struggles with finding their own identity—willing to find it in the first peer group, or person, offering some measure of acceptance. Just as long as they’re happy, we say. Someone is struggling with the memories and pains of Christmases past.
Or someone has just discovered a tumor and the word cancer is softly spoken. Someone is still seeking approval they deserved long-ago but didn’t get, shunning those who truly love them today, while seeking in all the wrong places what they never got and will never get from the past.
Are you still wandering, struggling, sitting alone, tempted, still going through your own period of waiting, this past year still anxious about today and tomorrow? It’s the all-too-real journey of our lives, not fully embracing as really true what Isaiah proclaimed so many years ago.
But here’s the good news—Bethlehem morning is upon us again.
And here’s the best news—the Bethlehem morning which occurred in the manger over two-thousand years ago—has always been here and always will be.
Bethlehem morning is more than a wish or a distant memory which we celebrate once a year. Bethlehem morning is the eternal truth that the Child who was born there on that day, is always here to free us from all of our wanderings, struggles, temptations, and concerns about tomorrow, and accepting less for our lives than what they were meant to be.
Bethlehem morning’s sun rose that day, and still rises each day to mark the eternal truth that the life and light of the Child Who was born there that day never ends.
The light of that morning will never grow faint. His love for us will never grow cold. And, no matter what temporary periods of wandering, worry, struggle and waiting we go through—the Babe of Bethlehem, the Christ Child, still reigns forever and ever.
Bethlehem morning is forever and ever and ever. For you and for me, and for the life we are meant to live with the Baby who came that day—for us.
Amen and Amen!
In His Name—Scott