The other day as I listened to one of my favourite Christmas cd’s I was struck by how quickly we sing carols without even thinking– maybe you recognize these words:
“Once in Royal David’s city, stood a lowly cattle shed. Where a mother laid her baby, in a manger for his bed”. . . “Come to Bethlehem and see, him whose birth the angels sing, Come adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord the newborn KING”. . . ” O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant– O come, ye o come ye, to Bethlehem”.
So that is what I did yesterday with many of our HCM friends. As a very large group we attended “Bethlehem LIVE”. This living nativity was put on by an area church and brought to life many aspects of the Christmas story. We started in Herod’s palace and then travelled through a crowded marketplace all the while trying to avoid the Roman soldiers who were on the lookout for people avoiding taxes. Thank goodness we weren’t among those who needed to be part of the census– that line was long!! We heard a Rabbi teach and shuffled towards an inn. The innkeeper was not happy to see us– apparently with the busyness of the census he is very tired from trying to accommodate weary travellers. His daughter showed us the amazing thing that happened in their stable— a young couple with a baby!
As we stood at that manger scene I looked at the faces of my friends. Awe, wonder and eyes as big as saucers. Joy, excitement and pure happiness. Hands clapping, hands reaching to try to touch a little bably. An amazing sight. An amazing lesson.
How often have our eyes seen a nativity scene? How often have our ears heard the story?
If you are like me, probably hundreds of times. But yesterday was special in that I got to see it through different eyes. I was reminded in a very simple way of the pure joy found in the centre of the Christmas story.
I am constantly amazed at how God speaks through our HCM friends and how he uses their honest and heartfelt reactions to teach us and help us gain perspective.
This Christmas, I hope you will find a way to ‘come to Bethlehem and see. . .‘— find something that allows you to experience the wonder and excitement of Christ’s birth. Find a way to hear the story as if for the very first time. Allow your eyes to grow as big as saucers and your hands to reach out to touch that baby.