Thursday, December 24 (Christmas Eve)
Luke 2:1-20 (NRSV)
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 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.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
FINDING LOVE IN ETERNAL CONNECTION
We have finally come to this precious, holy Christmas Eve, when we joyfully begin to celebrate the birth of the Christ child, God-with-us! Oh, we are richly blessed!
Even so, we remain mindful of the lingering limbo that has been with us most of the year. Our holiday celebrations may look much different, as our lives have been significantly disrupted and forever altered. Families and friends may be unable to gather together; some loved ones may no longer be with us. Even for those who have been more fortunate, sadness and grief can be found interspersed among the joy and gladness.
Can we find our Love in the Limbo on this Christmas Eve?
Tears begin to flow as I write this, but I am feeling that this Christmas will be even more significant, tender, and meaningful, because of the year we have had. Do you feel your heartache opening a deeper space within you, a holy longing for greater love to enter? Do you sense a deeper need for this Love of God in Jesus, who has come to abide with us in our limbo?
In this limbo called life, love is our sole and sacred certainty.
Love has come. Love has come from the infinite God to be with us and remain with us always. Love has come to be shared with dear ones. Love has come to be a blessing for all the world. Love has come, and Love will remain. ALWAYS. We can count on this, no matter what life brings.
Even through the pain of our struggle, the loneliness of our separation, the deep grief of our loss, love remains and continues…
~ Love extends across the miles to join us with dear ones, as we connect through video chats, phone calls, texts, cards, thoughts, and prayers.
~ Love flows on to connect us with those we do not yet know, through our gifts of charity, kindness, and generosity.
~ Love reaches into eternity to connect us with those who have gone before us, because their presence, memory, legacy, and spirit remain forever within us.
We will be always and eternally connected in a bond of everlasting love – you and I, our dear ones, those we yet consider strangers, and God in Christ Jesus.
Love surrounded Jesus even in the calamity on the night of this birth. After a long journey, giving birth in a lowly place, and then being interrupted by shepherds, Mary quietly “treasured… and pondered” in her heart of love for God and God’s son. Joseph watched over them, caring for his new family. The shepherds left their fields to come and see. Love surrounded Jesus then, and Jesus surrounds us now with that very same love.
Take a moment to close your eyes and open your heart.
Feel the loving presence of God in Christ, the baby Jesus born this night so long ago.
Feel the love proclaimed with the “good news of great joy for all the people.”
Feel the loving presence of those near to us now…
those far from us but close in heart…
those we do not yet know but are part of our worldwide community…
those who have gone ahead of us but remain a deep part of us.
Feel the unbreakable bonds of love surrounding, filling, and connecting all of us, forever.
This is the precious certainty of the abiding and eternal Love that is filling our aching emptiness, our holy longing. Perhaps especially this year, we find that our hearts can hold a greater and deeper love this Christmas…
Do you feel it?
Blessed Christmas, dear friends.
Our reading for tomorrow, Christmas Day, will be John 1:1-14.
Bible verses taken from https://www.biblegateway.com/