While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7
Tonight, behind all the lights and tinsel, the packages and bows, and the parties and time with family, a little child is born in borrowed space to two frightened parents uncertain about the future and what will come next for them.
Tonight, we witness the birth of the Prince of Peace and the Lord of Lords through Word and song. But he does not come with robes of purple and gold chariots; he comes in simplicity wrapped in simple bands of cloth and is placed in the only space available, the place where the animals feed.
With all of creation around him, the creator once again walks with creation, and the rift created by the pride and arrogance of humanity is repaired. Because the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” we no longer live in darkness, and our wandering can cease.
This is the night, O Holy Night.
The other night, my family and I watched A Muppet Christmas Carol. I had read somewhere that this was the most faithful to the original Dickens story of all the other versions. Unfortunately, I cannot testify to that, but it is an excellent telling of the story.
While watching, I was reminded that we never truly understand what another has gone through to make them who and what they are. All we see is what lies on the surface, and perhaps, like Scrooge, that makes them appear cold but under that gruff exterior is a human being, created in the image and likeness of God, that needs compassion and understanding.
It took some pretty radical interventions to get Scrooge to change his stony heart into a heart of flesh. What Scrooge needed more than anything else was love and compassion. Scrooge learned that there was nothing he could do to change the past, but he could change the future, and he was shown how to do that.
The child whose birth we celebrate tonight came to show us a different way. This way is the way of love and the way of compassion. Our task is to continue to follow that way and show others love and compassion.
The story of Christmas is love, love for all without exception.