“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.” (Luke 2:14)
This very morning, we celebrate the wonder and beauty of everything Christmas! Rather than going through the motions of knowing the nativity by heart, perhaps we could manage to “be” a part of the Christmas story. What if the lessons from the familiar characters could be lived out through us today as the most beautiful package we present to the Lord and to others.
For starters, wherever we happen to find ourselves, no matter how hopeful or cheerless the place, may we, too, be “filled with the Holy Spirit” as an instrument in God’s hand to “turn many…to the Lord their God,” just like Jesus’ cousin John.
In the way the angel greeted Mary, may we remember that “the Lord is with us” precisely where we are, even in the middle of awkward gatherings or exhausting family traditions. As if realizing it for the first time, let us consider that Jesus as “the Son of the Most High” is right there beside us, loving us and protecting us in the midst of chaos or sadness. How differently would we act today if we truly believed as Mary believed, that “nothing will be impossible with God” no matter how many impossible scenarios linger alongside the twinkling lights? Wouldn’t today be a great day to “magnify” the Lord whom we love by holding our tongues, extending grace, and displaying patience toward that difficult person in the room?
In the manner of Zechariah of old, let us be grateful today because “the Lord God of Israel has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us…that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.” May we, too, recall “the tender mercy of our God…to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace” and be an extension of his mercy and peace today wherever we are.
Let us respond like the ancient shepherds who heard “the good news of great joy that will be for all people” and realize afresh that we are a part of the “all” who have been given the privilege of experiencing new life with the Savior. In our jam-packed day, what might it look like to join the shepherds “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen”?
And then before nightfall, before another Christmas Day slips away altogether, may we take a little time just as Mary did to “treasure up all these things and ponder them” in our hearts. Today. Especially today.
Elizabeth Karram Mitchell