Saturday, December 24, 2011

Through New Eyes

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. Matthew 1:18-25

We are celebrating Christmas in Allentown with all of our daughters and their family. The tree is already loaded with presents and there are many more to add. This is Lilly's first Christmas, and somehow it makes it all new for us all. We can experience wonder and surprise through her eyes. Tonight we will travel to nearby Bethlehem to hear the ancient story retold. In the midst of all this wonder we will celebrate my birthday, which despite the challenges of the time of year, has always been a great time to be born. People are genuinely in a holiday spirit, and having a baby at Christmas always makes the experience much more real for people.

We hear the beginning of Mark's gospel, and the wondrous story of Jesus and his humble and remarkable beginnings in Bethlehem. The story doesn't talk of the complications and challenges facing the young mother, her new husband and the cultural and political pressures that surrounded them. We hear of the great promises from God and the simple wonder and joy that is a brand new child born to an anxious set of new parents in a strange new world.

Today, I ask God that I take in all the joy and wonder that is around me, delighting with new eyes and a new heart, in the extravagance of love and family that has been showered down upon us. God has made wondrous promises of love and new life for all. May we open our hearts and minds to the abundance around us and return to Bethlehem, seeing with all the love we share, this thing which has come to pass. Love is born into the world. Love in our midst. God is with us!

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