Silver sleeps on nearby hills and all the earth inhales–waiting still. We have almost arrived. These past days of feasting with friends, singing songs of angels and snow, the scripture readings, and all the making merry…they have done this task of preparing hearts.
We stand on tiptoe, craning neck, jockeying for our turn to peek into the manger.
Have you seen the Christ child?
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:16-20, NIV)
Have you seen him?
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him…Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus…Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying, “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 25-32, NIV)
When you gaze upon him, when you see him…what happens in your heart?
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old…She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. (Luke 2: 36-38, NIV)
They hurried and praised.
He took the babe in his arms and praised.
She gave thanks and spoke about the child to all…
How do I greet the Christ child?
Each Christmas season I stare long into the manger and I ask, how does the truth of this story change ME? How do I greet the child, this swaddled bundle, arms flailing and perfect toes peeking out from bands of tattered cloth?
I have seen the Christ.
I have gazed upon him in the manger—seen the pink flush over the brown of his baby skin. I have held his hand in the desert…felt the comfort of his strong arms. I have gazed upon the cross—grieved the cost of my sin and rejoiced at his willing sacrifice. I know he lives still yet.
He changes me.
Like the shepherds, he fills me with joy. With Simeon, I am ready…after touching him—and he touching me—I can be in peace with whatever is to come. And like Anna, I must tell…I must share this amazing, incredible story of redemption.
When I let the truth of this story permeate the depths of my marrow—when his person dwells in my every breath…the manger compels. He is Emmanuel. He is God With Us.
How do you greet the Christ child?
Merry Christmas Eve, Beloveds. As you prepare to peek into the manger, may you feel the joy of the shepherds, the peace of Simeon, and the wonder of the prophetess.