The moon was bright. The sky was clear and cold. The stars were twinkling overhead. The dog was restless, and so was I. Unable to sleep, I stood outside on the porch, wrapped in an Afghan, listening to the trees whispering to each other. There was excitement in the air! I could feel it! Christmas was coming! And all of nature knew it! Everything leaned toward the east, yearning for those first signs of dawn, wiggling and jiggling in anticipation of good things to come, and everywhere there were the hopeful sounds, the joyful sounds, the peaceful sounds that love makes.
Earlier that evening, at the candlelight worship service at church, we all held our tiny flames, a light in the darkness, as we stood around the labyrinth and sang “Silent Night”. Our collective breath rose in little prayer-puffs up toward the steeple. It felt as though all the angels in heaven had stopped their own singing, and God himself stood still, turning his great head toward us, so he could listen to our song-offering. Every year, it is the same. No matter how many times I hear the story, no matter how many times I sing the song, the tears come – tears of gratitude for the gift of love God gave to us in Jesus. “Jesus, Lord at your birth. Jesus, Lord at your birth.” I returned to my bed and fell asleep to dream of cattle lowing, and the smell of warm hay.
Morning comes, at last! I bound out of bed to watch the sky turn neon pink as the sun tops the trees, and those first, brilliant rays spill out over the pasture like liquid gold. The frost on the grass begins to melt and little drops of water drip from the trees, and the anole that lives in side my birdhouse pokes his head out to test the temperature. Christmas dawns again! And for one brief moment, all the world holds it’s breath, as Mary , like any proud, new mother, pulls back the blanket, and we get our first glimpse of that beautiful face that will change us forever; the Christ Child, who looks back at us with eyes already wise. “Son of God. Love’s pure light.” And I am reminded that even in my darkest hour, the light of God’s love shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it, and I smile.
May your Christmas dawn bright as the sun and may the pure light of God’s love in Jesus shine upon you, this Christmas and all year long!
Pastor Barb <><
…in him was life, and the life was the light of all people John 1:4