Reflection: From earliest childhood, singing was an enjoyable pastime and I couldn’t wait to join the choirs at church: first in Primary blue, moving-on to Junior red, Youth purple, and finally, Chancel black. The highlight, through the purple years, was processing to “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” at the annual Candlelight Service the Sunday before Christmas. Such excitement! Such anticipation! What a celebration of our Lord’s birth!
In our later teenage years, we caroled on Christmas Eve at nursing homes and hospitals, bringing our joy of the season to those unable to attend services. “Away in a Manger” was often requested and those who could, sang along with us. Of all the many Christmas carols, that one seems to be remembered best; no one ever loses the wonder that Jesus was born in a stable surrounded by cattle. I think that it’s a carol that makes people realize that fancy trappings aren’t the be-all to end-all.
Think of it: a stable, a hay-filled trough, odorous animals. This was the birthplace of our Lord, He whom we’ve celebrated and worshipped for over 2000 years. And compare its simplicity to all of today’s hoopla: shopping for gifts to gaily wrap; decorating; cookie baking; glitter and bling. (I’m not immune, I love to bake.)
I feel so privileged to have been born and raised in a Christian home with abundant love given unstintingly. I was also fortunate to have had a crib for my bed, and I’m still able to buy gifts and bake cookies to give to loved ones and strangers. But the joy of being a Christian comes from the joy of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of our Lord, who gives us His abundant love unstintingly. Jesus is the Wonder of the Manger and I will continue to joyfully sing about him at Christmas and always.
Prayer: Dear God, we continue to appreciate all that you have given us, especially your Son, and that we and Jesus are always connected by love. Amen.
Lee Heisey, Deacon