Christmas Eve is a time of anticipation. Each of us holds a store of memories that sustain us. We feel a sense of hope and the promise of good news. For us this Advent has been a dark time, and the darkness in our nation lies heavy on our hearts. We are besieged by a seemingly endless pandemic, our nation is mired in antagonism and deceit. Even some in our church to whom we look for inspiration are acting less than Christlike. Separation has made us realize how much we miss connection. Yet, we can still live in the expectation that the light will come in spite of all that is happening. We genuinely offer wishes to one another for happiness and peace, and, in this special time, we are aware that in deepest reality we are all one. We look toward Christmas and believe in “God with us.”
Let every heart prepare him room.
Reflect on the symbols of Christmas and probe their meaning for you. How can you keep them meaningful this year? Do you believe that in deep reality we are all one?
But when the fullness of the time came, God sent Jesus, born of a woman, born under the Law.
Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son… He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.
In the midst of our winter darkness, the midnight service on Christmas Eve celebrates Jesus, the light in our darkness, the light of the world who shines in our heart. We sing, “Let every heart prepare him room”. The Christian life is about a new heart, an open heart, a heart of flesh, a heart of compassion. The Christian life is about the Spirit of God opening our hearts.
We desire to be able to welcome Jesus at Christmas time not in a cold manger of our heart but in a heart full of love and humility, in a heart so pure and so warm with love for one another.
Mother Teresa of Calcutta
In night’s deep silence,
Clear a voice rings through
Rise up, ye shepherds,
God is born to you:
Quickly now and go ye over.
Seek where Bethlehem
star does hover
Haste to greet your Lord.
The people in darkness have seen a great light
For a child has been born his dominion is wide.
For who has known the mind of God
To God be glory forever.
Gentle Night CD
The Christmas story will always be the story of God here with us in the ordinary, the everyday, the chaos, the shabbiness of a stable, the flight into exile, the love between a man and a woman, the birth of a child and of people despised because of their lowly social status.
Christmas Eve was a night of song that wrapped itself about you like a shawl. But it warmed more than your body. It warmed your heart…filled it, too, with melody that would last forever.
Bess Streeter Aldrich
When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things – not the great occasions – give off the greatest glow of happiness.
Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.
Laura Ingalls Wilder