Christmas Night

Photo by Blyzz via Flickr

My yearly Christmas post…because I can’t say it any better than I did two years ago. May your holy day be just that…holy, and blessed.

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What did the sky look like the night Jesus was born? On that cold night, two millenia before humanity washed out the stars, what kind of celestial masterpiece must have been on display? When the shepherds lived and worked and slept beneath the stars, did they ever look up and fall silent, struck dumb by the vast, mysterious realm of beauty and mystery above them? Or was it so familiar that its wonder faded into the worn fabric of life–something that hardly warranted a second glance? When the glory of all the host of heaven rent the sky, what was it that these humble pastors feared–the angels, or the disruption of their humdrum backdrop? And after the angels left, did they ever look at the stars in the same way again?

The light of security and traffic safety has washed out the sky now, such that we’ve lost the habit of looking up. In the dark, we stare at our feet, sharp on the lookout for anything that might trip us. Even when we escape the aura of city night, we forget to raise our eyes to the heavens. And yet it is built into our inmost being–this wonder, this desire to know what makes the lights in the sky burn. It is one of the first shapes we identify in childhood; its effect is mirrored in lanterns strung and walkways lined; in tinsel fluttering and jewelry polished to perfection–even in the humble ceiling beneath which I sit, the pattern of the cosmos catches the light of chandelier and tosses it back at me.

If we took the time to stop, on these cold, crystal-clear December nights, to embrace the chill and find a place away from the lights, and look up…what message might we hear whispered in our hearts?