In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 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: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12 NRS)
I share my grandfather’s birthday, Christmas Eve. He was the seventh son out of sixteen children. His family had modest gifts at Christmas, one per child. His parents had a tradition that whoever woke up first on Christmas Eve would get an extra present to sweeten the deal. Since my grandfather’s birthday gift and Christmas gift were often combined into one gift (he noted of exactly the same value as what everyone received), he was highly motivated to claim the prize by being the first one Christmas Eve morning to shout out, “Christmas Eve gift!”
Apparently he renewed the tradition the year I was born early on a Christmas Eve. I’m told he ran through the house like a giddy child, “Christmas Eve gift! Christmas Eve gift!” The birth of a baby eclipsed the rest of the holiday festivities.
The birth of a baby changes everything. The birth of one particular baby changed the world.
My prayer for you today is that the joy of the gift of the Christ child fills your soul. A fragment of the Christmas carol “O Little Town of Bethlehem” keeps coming to mind, “The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.” May Christ fulfill your hopes and calm your fears. May you get to simplify Christmas, enjoy the day with family, and may the spirit of Christ be born in you anew today. I can think of no better Christmas Eve gift.
Rev Doc Lorna
Photo: Juan Bautista Maíno [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons