All the anticipation – all the joyful music of the season – the reunions, the special laughter, the gatherings – suddenly came to an abrupt halt. On this silent, holy night, as I looked out the expanse of wide windows into a fog covered night, a glorious moment occurred. There was no fanfare, no angel choirs, complete aloneness and not a sound.
Through the corridors of time, my mind swiftly covered seventy seven years of Christmas. I remembered the yearly church services, with memorized Bible passages and the sound of beautiful hymns filling the sanctuary. This was part of my Christmas for as long as I can remember. It always began in church where the story of the Son of God has been told and retold through the ages.
There were the Christmases of plenty and those where there was very little to give, but the focal point of that special night never changed. Jesus would be placed in a feeding trough for animals, after being wrapped tightly in strips of cloth. This was not a bed fit for a King. It wasn’t fit for any human habitation. The humility of that very act shows us what the cost was for Christ to leave His home in heaven to take on our sins.
My mind quickly fast forwarded to this Christmas. For weeks we had been anxiously awaiting our family from S. Carolina. Our Minnesota kids helped to ready our home for the holiday. Our usual Christmas Eve would be spent in church with all our clan and then off to our youngest daughter’s home for a fine dinner and celebration of being together. Instead, I was in a hospital room, looking out at the blanket of dense fog, cuddling every thing in sight. I felt very small, yet part of something extremely big.
Even in the aloneness of that moment, I felt my heart leap for joy, because I knew God was with me and the treasure of His Son, laying on a mound of hay was enough to fill the empty spaces. None of us should ever feel alone, even in our darkest times. The promises of God’s presence in our hearts has seen to that. He has made a place there for the Christ Child to live.
It was midnight when I looked out the window. I contemplated the first Christmas and thought of the beauty of that silent, holy night. Time stood still for a moment and a feeling of peace rushed over me. The story never changes. It always ends the same way and yet each time I hear it, something new lands in my brain. God is like that, you know.