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. It was to be the coldest night of the year. 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 the reflections in her eyes of 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 celebrated again a few weeks ago, can you 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 for them. 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 when we remember the majesty of the moment, life just seems to keep on coming at us with its many faces of difficulty, disappointment, disillusionment, heartache, worry, or worse despair.
A loved one is lost. An illness worsens with little or no earthly hope for reversal. A relationship ends. A long-held dream finally seems to slip from our grasp. Our finances finally run out. In the midst of the wonder and amazement of the moment, life goes on and on and on. In that most glorious and promising of times we still find ourselves questioning and uncertain, as the world spins on around us.
But hold it right there for just a moment. We just experienced that moment of that birth which reminds us that no matter what we are facing or going through, no matter the pain we feel or the painful memories of the past—the Light of His love shines through all that and the junk of our lives today and every day for all eternity.
That’s where we’ve been—with those childlike eyes of wonder and amazement we saw that night through our Granddaughter.
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 this New Year unfolds, let’s make sure we hold tight to the moment of wonder and amazement we’ve just been through, and allow that magnificent Light to shine into our lives once again—today, tomorrow and every day, for the rest of our lives.
And when we do, we will always experience again—a night of wonder.
In His Name–Scott