Being a born & bred New Englander, when I close my eyes and think of Christmas night I think of cold. I think of crisp, cold, clean air that fills the lungs and opens your airway with a refreshing chill. I think of the evening quiet when the snow on the ground muffles the sounds of night and the rustle of the few oak leaves that clung to the branches when the rest abandoned their post for the winter. I think of standing outside growing up helping my grandmother load up her car to head home and then lingering to breathe in the peace of a winter’s night as she drove down the road beeping her horn.
And I always picture that moment when I look up to the heavens and see the stars and planets shining in the night sky. As I grew older, my thoughts on that sky changed from “I hope Santa got to everyone’s houses safely” to “I wonder what the sky looked like as the wise men journeyed to present their gifts to Jesus.”
What was it like when the wise men finally arrived to visit Jesus and laid their gifts before Him? When the shepherds gathered to see this tiny human, Son of God who would grow to free us from the weight of our sins? What did Mary and Joseph feel as Jesus entered the world the same as the rest of us, an ordinary miracle that happened in the most humble of places?
Do you ever wonder what that the events around the arrival of Jesus were like? For those who heard the message of the angel that the Savior was born and were able to go to Him and see Him, see the light fall on His baby face and look in wonder at a promise to be fulfilled?
Jesus was sent to us and born as a Human. He grew to a man, He taught lessons to be heard through the ages and called us to come to His side, to live like as He described for us to do, to be like Him. To believe that He is the Son of God, that when He went to the cross He would free us from our sins and bring us closer to the God who loves us so much that He allowed His Son to die at the hands of one of the worst styles of execution in recorded history.
When night falls this Christmas, step outside and look to the sky. See the stars, see the moon, see the planets. Take in the peacefulness of the evening. Breathe.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath and listen. Can you hear the angels’ voices worshiping, calling out “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests” (Luke 2:14)? Can you see the new morning on the horizon? Can you hear the cries of a newborn baby? Can you hear Mary’s gentle voice as she nursed Jesus and presented Him to the shepherds came to call? Can you see Joseph beaming nervously looking down at this child that God has entrusted him to raise as his own?
Then open your eyes. Look around, take in the night, and as Mary did on that holy night 2000 years ago treasure it all in your heart (Luke 2:19). In 2000 years, nothing has changed. Our world still needs that little baby Jesus, our world still needs Him to free us from the oppression of our sin. Our world still needs the beauty of His salvation, the greatest gift ever given – a Savior. A Savior who can give us peace and stillness in the darkness of night and lead us into the light of His new day.