Christmas Eve in the Netherlands

Light your candle every time you pray in Advent. You may need to get more candles. That would be great. This common practice will unite us in the darkening days. Shine your light on social media using  #HowWeHope as often as you need to feel the connection. You are not alone. The Lord is near. We are near.

Today’s Bible reading

But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.—Luke 2:19-20

More thoughts for meditation

Mary ponders and the shepherds praise. They receive this good news and have different ways of approaching it. Mary knows she has delivered this good news to the world; she may be pondering what that means for her, for her child, for her family. She knows how consequential his life will be, and she sang about it right before, but it may still be daunting and worth pondering in our hearts even.

The shepherds have a different approach! They praise and glorify the Lord. What they were expecting for so long, as a people, has arrived. The shepherds embody a lament that Jesus sees and will offer hope to. The shepherds are also representative of a people who is awaiting freedom, and they are in the fortunate position of know about their own captivity. The best news is that this good news isn’t just for the descendants of Abraham, but for all of us! (Jesus will go on to say we are all heirs of Abraham.)

Suggestions for action

Tonight, we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Enter into the time in praise and in pondering. We have reason to reflect and rejoice. What we’ve been hoping for will have arrived. What we’ve been lamenting will be lightened. The darkness is over, the light has arrived. Join us for worship tonight for our 10:45 p.m. candlelight vigil.