Reflections on Christmas Eve

We Are Part of This Sacred Story

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It is such a joy to gather on this Holy evening to celebrate the birth of the newborn baby, Jesus, Emmanuel, Our God is with us.  Tonight, our beautiful story is told again…a story as old as time… as the song goes. A child is born on a beautiful starry night who will change the world. Each child is a magnificent masterpiece, a child of God. And we are all part of this story of life, of living and dying, of bringing Gods light into the world, of dreaming new visions for a world in desperate need of new hope and great love. This is our human story, a drama played out in the simple yet spectacular lives of each of us, each with a story to write upon the earth.

Tonight, our story has a new understanding because our God is with us. This child Jesus, born in the town of Bethlehem that night so long ago, would help us dream new visions and write new stories for our world…stories of compassion and healing, of mercy and forgiveness, of acceptance and great love.

Every child born is, in some way, the Christ Child, bringing a spark of the divine into our world, born to write a new story of love. Each child brings Gods message of great love to live among us…and the newborn Jesus brought forth a new story that Our God is with us. 

And so we come together to sing joyful hymns and to tell the story again, a story many of us have heard since we were young and yet, each year, it speaks to us in a different way, as we imagine that very first Holy Night.

When we have children in our midst, we often tell them the stories of their own birthdays and we share the stories of our families, our childhoods, our parents, the stories of those who lived before our time.  We want to pass that heritage along to them…and so too with the sacred stories of our tradition. In the very earliest years of the Christian community, these stories were shared by word of mouth, told again and again so that they would feel the hope and joy, the wonder and amazement that our God chose to be born among us and to live a life of mercy and love, compassion and peace.   But those stories are not simply for long ago; we are part of this big, beautiful story of hope and love.  

On that night, we are told by the Gospel Luke, there were Shepherds tending their flocks and the Angel appears to them and they are the very first to hear the joyous news.  In the darkness, they see the light of the star and then decide to go and meet the newborn baby.  What is it that they found in the manger so long ago?  For them, it was perhaps not  unusual to visit a manger, but that evening, they would be encouraged by the angel to greet with joy this newborn child.  They must have felt such amazement.

And this beautiful holy, holy night, what are we seeking when we look into that manger?  Do we feel that we too are part of this beautiful story of love?  What are the hopes and fears that we bring to our God this very night in this time and place?  What do we see if we follow that evening star and peer into that manger?  What do we hope to see?  Tonight, we are called to continue composing this beautiful story of love and light, of joy and hope for our world.  What lines are written in our heart? What words shall we share in our lives to tell this story of love in a way that the world will take notice and live in peace?  May the blessings of peace and hope be upon you; may the blessings of love and light be in your hearts.