By Rev. Matthew M. Williams
Lighthouse United Methodist Church
Boca Grande, Florida
First, read Isaiah 9: 6-7
One of the joys of the Advent and Christmas seasons are Children’s Christmas Pageants. It is heartwarming to see little children dressed up like the characters of the nativity. There are the angels, the holy family, the barn animals, and at times even a star! In their innocence to portray the characters of the pageant they remind us that God’s self came among us in innocence, as a baby, to play the part of saving the world.
Today is Christmas Eve. It is a day set by the church to remember the holy night of the incarnation. God, in Christ, did not come among us as a mighty military warrior. Rather, God in Christ came among us as a baby. In the Nativity scene, God’s self took rest lying in a manger. It was a selfless and vulnerable moment for God.
There have been times when I have thought that God was distant. The holy child of Bethlehem reminds me that God is actually very near and that the authority of the universe rests upon his shoulders. This child is Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.
God came to us and dwelled among us. God became Emmanuel – meaning that God is with us. On this Christmas Eve, allow your hearts to be clothed in the characters of the Nativity. Gaze upon the manger and see the Christ child. In the stillness of this night, gaze in awe upon the manger and see your salvation.
How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him, still the dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels their great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
-Phillips Brooks, 1868
- What attributes of the Christ child are most meaningful to you?
- How has God been Emmanuel – with you – in your life?
- How might the Christ child form the way in you experience God’s presence and love?