One of the joys of preparing for Christmas Eve worship is asking young parents with a baby to be the holy family during our celebration of the birth of the Christ – child. Some couples are eager (usually the mothers) and some are hesitant. Pastor Doug has asked us to put on a Mary and Joseph head dress, robes and sandals to join with the shepherds in a live nativity. We are to be the holiest of families for 10 minutes as the children gather around to get a glimpse of baby Jesus.
This year, we especially need a glimpse of the Christ – child. We need a breathtakingly beautiful portrait of the reality of God incarnate in the baby Jesus. We need love, forgiveness, and hope in the midst of hatred, judgment, and fear.
Bombs have been sent in the mail. Worshipers have been executed. Fires have killed dozens. Refugees have been sent back to violence and death. As we experience the effects of fear, we want to strike back.
But then we come to the manger and a totally dependent baby who will be loved and nurtured as he grows into a man who gifts us with love, forgiveness, and hope.
The last line of the first verse of “O Little Town of Bethlehem” reminds us to bring our “hope and fears” to the manger on Christmas Eve.
“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”
In Christ – Pastor Doug