Every year, I say that I will experience all the fullness of Advent and Christmas and not one little moment slip by, yet increasingly each year I find that the days in December slip by so quickly that I hardly have a chance to catch my breath before it’s all over.
I don’t feel ready or prepared, yet Christmas Eve is only 9 days away. Back when I was a kid, 9 days would last forever, but these days when I sneeze, 2 days go by.
The first Advent and Christmas snuck up on people. Those living in Israel were expecting a Messiah, but almost none of them were looking in the right place at the right moment when He arrived.
Few would have ever suspected tiny Bethlehem to be the birthplace of the King of the Universe. Fewer would have expected Him to be born in such a lowly place — whether it was a stable or a room for the animals attached to a house– and had His first crib be a feeding trough.
It seems we’re still missing Him today. He gets crowded out by lights, gift wrapping, tinsel, and all the hustle and bustle that comes with the season. These are all good and well, but not when we’ve forgotten the reason why.
It’s good to make time to be still and meditate on the true meaning of Christmas, remembering that the Child we celebrate lives in the hearts of people not just one day a year but in all the days of all the years (to semi-borrow a line from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol)
“Lord, sometimes You come quietly and with no disturbance. Babies threaten no one, and no memorials are raised to mark their significance. May my life bring Christ quietly into the circle of human need so that those who need You will not be frightened by Your presence but enveloped in it” (Calvin Miller, The Christ of Christmas).