December 25, 2014

Unto us a Child...

We have arrived at the Manger. A hewn trough for animal food, probably in a cave.

In the midst of all the hectic preparation, decorating, parties, shopping, wrapping, travelling, welcoming, caroling, and all the other things we pack into this month comes the cry of an Infant.
Do you hear Him? Can we hear Him over all the cacophony of the advertisements and clamor?

A young woman has given birth. She rests in a cave amid straw and the rustling of animals large and small. There is nothing remarkable about a birth, except that every birth is remarkable. There is nothing remarkable about the couple. He is a carpenter; she is just barely a woman. They are strangers but no one has taken time to welcome them.
If you speak to them you would immediately know they are foreigners from the north, but that’s not unusual right now. There are lots of visitors in town. If you look at them you would not know that both the man and woman have encountered angels. They will not tell you about that. In fact, both of them are wrapped up in the Babe she holds. Perhaps they are treasuring their anonymity in this moment of birth. Perhaps they are treasuring their privacy as they marvel at the miracle in her arms.

He is a normal baby, mewling and squirming in search of the breast. He has black hair and tiny hands and feet, now carefully swaddled against the chill of the cave. He is unexceptional. Other baby boys were born today. Some in great palaces, others in worse hovels than this cave. Each has a destiny. Each will choose a path. Each is loved by God. Only to this one will the Holy One of Israel say “You are my beloved Son”.
What is that stirring beyond the cave entry? Why are shepherds gathering in a confused cluster? Who do they seek? How did they hear about this birth among all the others? Have you heard the news?

“Unto us a child is born, Unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders and his Name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6) Here the Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings the words: from Handel's Messiah. 
Come to the Manger, Come to the Infant, Come to the Quiet, Come to Worship, Come and be Changed.

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