Last holiday season was especially hectic. Too much last-minute shopping, too much money spent, too many dinners prepared and too many consumed to the bone, too many late nights trying to catch up, and then more guests. More, more, more of everything.
But, at last, Christmas Eve arrived. We made our way to Church Street, too late to sit in our habitual pew, but we eventually found a definitely snug space where we could all sit together. Just in time, as Christmas carols and songs had begun to fill the Nave. “O Come All Ye Faithful” brought tears to someone nearby, perhaps someone recalling their own annual traditions, maybe from childhood. The first verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” tugged at Christmas hearts, but somehow not mine. I remained burdened with the heaviness of the last few weeks. And then, a few rows from us, a baby cries. A crying baby to spoil this beautiful service!
But the whimpering is just what I needed to hear. The crying was perfect.
Once upon a time, ever so many years ago, a baby was born. The father enthusiastically shouts “It’s a boy!” With baby’s first gulping cries, his mother and father gently soothe, caress his tiny body, wrap him ever so snugly. Yet somehow those first cries carry into the wilderness, alerting shepherds, and wise men peering into night skies hear a special sound, until even angels stop their appointed tasks just to listen, because in the cries of a precious newborn, God has kept His promise that Christmas will forevermore be beautiful and real.
Prayer: God of my heart, open my eyes, my ears, all my senses to an awareness of your incredible gifts. Open my heart that I may see, and hear, and feel your presence in my life. Thank you. -Linda Blair From the Church Street Advent Devotion Book, 2013