“This is what you [the shepherds] are to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in manger.” Luke 2:12 (The Message Bible)
It’s Christmas Eve, and in a few minutes I’ll be heading to church for my favorite evening service of the whole year. I’m off to see the baby—the same one I’ve been looking for each Christmas Eve for 66 years.
I think of all the Christmas Eves I have spent with my parents, siblings, my husband and my own children, and none of them stand out as being “the best.” Christmas Eve always meant a light supper and going to church as a family, However, I do remember one sub-zero Christmas Eve in Naperville, Illinois, in which the temperature and road conditions caused anyone who had to drive even a short distance, to stay home. The chance of freezing to death on the way to worship Baby Jesus didn’t make sense.
We made it through that Christmas Eve, and I’m certain the little kids were happier opening their gifts than sitting in a dark sanctuary with Christmas carols and special music that probably would have lulled them to sleep.
Tonight, I’ll leave my convalescing husband safely at home and go to church alone. However, when I arrive in the sanctuary, my family of believers will greet me. Together, we will find the baby lying in a manger and bow down to praise him, as if it were the first time we ever set eyes on the infant!
Dear Lord, give us fresh eyes to see the wholeness of the baby and a longing to walk with him all the way to the cross. Amen.