Luke 2:6-7 – While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (NIV)
We call ourselves the "Motley Crew" and we certainly have a variety of experiences between us, being mostly retired clergy. With spouses and friends, we meet each month for a meal and fellowship. Together we must represent hundreds of years of leading Christmas Eve services.
Just imagine the stories! My memories go back to a certain Christmas Eve when the baby stole the show. The usual Bethlehem scenes had been re-enacted, but no one removed the baby in the manger, so she lay there gurgling, cooing, and waving at the Christmas tree lights. I tried to concentrate on the message, knowing full well that everyone was mesmerized by the baby and not listening to a word I said. It was a magic time, and I felt overwhelmed by emotion.
Today, the pageant in our church is re-enacted by seniors, and we rarely have a real baby gurgling at the lights. One of our magi is in his eighties, and worried about his numb feet. Could he make it down the aisle okay? That comment brought another memory. It was Christmas Eve in a nursing home, and "Mary" was in her nineties. This lady had said nothing to anyone for months. Now, here she was, sitting in a wheelchair, dressed as Mary, but in her own dream world. Then a miracle happened. In the fullness of time, God's time, she was handed the baby, gurgling and cooing, and we watched in amazement as she gently rocked the baby back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, singing a lullaby. Everyone had tears in their eyes.
What effect has the baby Jesus on you? Do you too watch with tears in your eyes as you behold the miracle? — God actually coming to earth as a baby! Everyone loves a baby. Babies bring out the most protective and loving response from the human heart. Do you see Him? Do you reach out to touch Him? My heart is filled with awe, and I love Him very much. Just writing it brings tears to my eyes. But now my touch is on the Lord, not in a manger, but on a cross. And my finger comes away with blood on it, and I am moved, almost beyond bearing it, at the wonder of it all.
Prayer: O Lord, my heart comes close to touch You on this day, and I am overwhelmed. It is indescribable what it means that You are here. Your Spirit fills me with love and forgiveness. Thank You for coming, thank You for touching me. I need You! Every day I need You. Come, Lord Jesus. May my heart be Your manger this Christmas. Amen.