Saturday, December 24, 2011

The words of Christmas Eve

Tonight as we tucked our three angels in bed, their squirms and giggles made their anticipation evident.  They were filled with questions about what morning would hold, some they asked aloud, some they kept to themselves, maybe because they feared speaking it aloud would break the magic of the moment.

Can't you just picture the anticipation of the first Christmas eve.  The angels must have been full of eager energy, maybe they even had questions about what was about to happen.  No doubt they sat on the edge of their seats waiting to see how this miracle of miracles would play out.  A baby was about to be born, and they knew he would be The CHRIST, the SAVIOR.  Can you IMAGINE knowing that was about to happen? Oh, the anticipation.

I sat during the candlelight service tonight... wrestling children, reminding them to sit quietly during prayers, and squirming trying to get my bump of a belly comfortable in the pew.  Then in an instant, the candles were lit and everyone was still.  The song was one of their favorites, Silent Night, so they were all three singing along while mesmerized by the flame in front of them.  And for just a moment, as I looked at their sweet faces, as I was surrounded by my little family, my parents and brothers, I was filled with WONDER.  What wonder that the Lord would bless me so richly and then create moments like this one to increase my appreciation and amazement at it all.

Can't you just imagine moments like that for Mary?   She struggled through the pain of labor IN A BARN, after long hours of travel ON A DONKEY, and then finally got her crying newborn baby boy settled in a manger. AND THEN.  oh, then...I can just picture a moment, a brief break in the chaos of it all, when she would have been filled with wonder.  She might have sat just staring at her sleeping child.  On top of just being overwhelmed that the Lord would bless her with a gift of a baby, she knew that He would save THE WORLD.  Oh, what WONDER that must have been.

I watched tonight as my kids continued traditions that I remember from childhood.  Reading the Night Before Christmas with their Nonna before bed, hearing the story of Christ's birth and being reminded of the reason we celebrate, and leaving cookies and milk for Santa.  They are traditions that I hope my children will one day continue with their own families.  I was filled with great joy in those moments.

Can't you just imagine God's great Joy at knowing His Son was beginning a journey that would save His people?  He knew it would come at great cost, but even before Jesus was born, God was so aware that His son would continue on what He had started.  His Son was carrying a legacy that would be continued for thousands of years.  What great Joy there is in that!

As you go to sleep tonight (hopefully many of you are are long since there), may you be filled with the anticipation, wonder and joy of the night.  And as you remember the WONDER of that first Christmas Eve, may you be filled with GREAT JOY as you ANTICIPATE what is to come through the sweet gift of a Savior that was given.


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