The lights are twinkling tonight on our indoor Christmas tree. The soft amber glow illuminates and rebounds off of chromed metallic ornaments and festooned handmade trinkets our children crafted years ago.
There are also now shiny, gleaming presents underneath its green bows. They were once nicely arranged a night ago; a night while children slumbered and were clueless to their sudden arrival there. Each present was meticulously placed, end to end, odd shape upon symmetrical spun into a tapestry of beauty only this advent season can contain and hold like a gently rocked baby reminiscent of the One so long ago.
Now, as the day quickly spun into daylight as it always does, the touch of children’s hands began to closely inspect each gift, turning them over, guessing and re-guessed as to its contents, shaking them, listening and then gently shaking them once more. It is the act of innocence. It is the spark of imagination and exuberance only caught in the eye of youth. The quiet sneaking and peaking. The reading of names written there upon the glinting wrapping paper and smooth crimson satin bows. Caught in the act, their mother and I lightly chide them and remind them that the day has not yet arrived. The day that might as well be a thousand years from now to our children seated impatiently there beneath our tree. They begin begging to open just one – their pleas fall upon our deaf ears…it is far too soon. The mystery, or perhaps torture, must continue for another twelve days.
I place a warm arm around my beautiful bride as we witness the glow of excited faces. We glance at one another, a passing, unspoken acknowledgement that this moment too is sacred. It can be as sacred as any moment seated in mighty cathedrals. Though we lack stained glass and their purposeful messages told and passed down from generation to generation…and though we also lack within this moment the “choirs of angels” sharing another “holy night” in resplendent octaves and melodies that glance upon our souls – we still share a moment of pure joy. It is a gift, a worthy moment only share by these few members of family and blood.
In but a moment it draws me back to the story of the birth of Christ. A moment shared only by a very young couple, a bunch of smelly animals and a few humble shepherds. They did not have glory of fanfare. They encountered Christ, God’s Son in the most humblest of moments…and it too was of the utmost sacred of things.
My arm is still around my wife, my love and I can’t help but think – So what if we often get the specifics of Christmas wrong. So what if we don’t always sing on key in church…so what if we don’t read all of the words right as we stumble upon its phrases that should be memorized after all of these years. So what if we take in a little extra time gazing into our loved ones eyes in moments like these as the world seems to continue busily buzzing by. Perhaps that’s the point of all of this anyway. Perhaps in a world of ever increasing cynicism and constant need for glory and power we miss the point all together. Could it be that we miss the mystery of it all? We chide our children, yet in but a moment we glimpse what we once were within their eyes, before the impossible became unrealistic, and we oversimplified this gift of life -of love and of this Christ-mas…perhaps we should instead join them beneath the glimmering tree, and in our gazing up – witness mystery once more. Perhaps then, we will then properly articulate a Savior born long ago. Perhaps then, with it will come a sense of rejuvenated hope and awe… Perhaps then, we will care less about the mechanics of it all and instead focus upon the purpose of it all.
“For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,…” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Something more to ponder.
To God be the glory.