When we decorate our Christmas tree or set up the porcelain Nativity set, there is bound to be a star involved. In actuality the star of Bethlehem wasn’t set in the sky until after Jesus’ birth, when the Magi from the East followed it in search of a new king. The real star of Bethlehem was a tiny infant, born to a virgin mother, conceived by God, Himself.
Last year on this day, I was being admitted to the hospital with an infection. Our family from S. Carolina was with us to celebrate Christmas, but that Christmas was going to be different than any I’ve ever experienced. Instead of going to church, enjoying the company of family, special Christmas treats and exchanging gifts, I would be spending Christmas Eve in a hospital bed. Even though the entire family visited me after attending church, it wasn’t the same. Yet what followed after they left, made me witness to a real miracle.
It was close to midnight. The door to my room was closed. A few distant sounds permeated the hallways as a crew of nurses and orderlies tended to their duties. The sky outside my gigantic window was filled with fog. As I thought about that first Christmas, when Christ was born, I couldn’t help but think about the brilliant sky, filled with an angelic choir praising God. In the distance, I saw a small light – a single star, visible maybe only to me – but nonetheless it began to shine brightly in the mist filled expanse. I was experiencing a Christmas miracle – a reminder that even in my aloneness, I was not alone. God gave me great comfort in that moment.
This past year has been one of many changes for all of us. We’ve learned to value our lives differently – to place others first – to work through difficulties – to share, love and help one another. We’ve grumbled when the pandemic took away a slice of our freedom. We groaned when we were restricted from dining out, traveling, living as we once did. We endured a presidential election and all the mud that goes along with it. We’ve experienced street protests erupting into violence and looting. Our schools were closed. Lives were turned upside down and businesses failed because of it.
So here we are, another Christmas Eve and we’re all eager for a miracle – an answer to our prayers – hope and peace – love, comfort and joy. Many of us will be glad when 2020 ends. We pray that things will return to the way they were. The miracle of that first Christmas changed the world. God came down from heaven, became a man and took on the sin of the world. He became our brother so that we could inherit His kingdom in heaven.
The world will probably not go back to what we once called “normal,” but one thing never changes. The true miracle of this season is that God loves us unconditionally and with Him we will never walk alone.
MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE!