None of us can know what that night was like. I’ve always imagined it like most of the paintings and hymns do: calm, clear, and peaceful. An ordinary night in which very few had any idea what extraordinary gift would come to earth that night. Heaven touched earth and gave birth to a new faith and a new understanding of life. When God came to earth, the world changed. People may not have known it or felt it, but things changed that night. It was just a stable and it was just a birth, but it was so much more than that too.
I often find myself jealous of Mary and Joseph around this time of year; and of Jesus’ disciples and followers throughout the year. I want to know what it was like to walk this earth alongside of him. I want to know what it was like as she held him in her arms and soothed him to sleep. I long to know what his voice was like—was he a bass, baritone, or tenor? I long to know what he truly looked like—his features, the color of his skin, was he tall or short? What was he like as a child? Did he always get along with the other kids? As he grew, what did it feel like for Mary to be hugged not only by her son, but simultaneously by her Savior?
It is easy for us to look back and wonder how people could have taken his presence for granted, how people could not understand the gift it was for God to be walking among them. But would we have known? Would we have seen it right away? I can hope so, but I can’t really be sure.
But the gift of Christmas that we celebrate year after year does not stop with the birth of Christ, or even with his ascension into heaven. The gift of Christmas is with us every day as we learn to recognize and feel the Spirit within us just as Christ promised. Indeed, the spirit of season should not fade at the close of December 25, but should remain until he comes again.
So on this Christmas Eve, remember the gift we celebrate is still within our reach and can still be felt by us. It doesn’t answer all of our questions, but the Spirit grants a greater comfort than words are able to convey. Christ has come to this earth as an innocent baby and will return to this earth to restore us to peace. Until that day, live in the joy of Christ and celebrate in love. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
(Note: the above is original content written by this author in 2004. I suggest having a journal and Bible on-hand when you sit down with this devotional in order to complete the full aspects of it.)