Gerard (Gerrit) van Honthorst (1590-1656), Adoration of the Shepherds
Today’s Bible reading:
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
More thoughts for meditation
On Christmas morning, what is different? If we still struggle with our old habits, oppressive systems still perpetuate evil, and the earth is still being destroyed, what is different? What was all of that longing and waiting for, if the suffering doesn’t end? Jesus’ name means “God is salvation.” From what are we being saved? From what are we being delivered?
The miracle of God-with-us changes everything. God coming to us, abiding with us, and not leaving but making a home in us is the cosmic response to our need for deliverance. God’s self revelation in Jesus as a retelling and expansion of the promised deliverance that began in the Exodus narrative. God rescues God’s people. We turn toward our deliverance and embrace the baby Savior. On Christmas day, we meet God as God comes to us.
Suggestions for action
We have been lighting candles all of Advent, marking the story as we journey with those who have gone before us to wait for the birth of our Savior. In a dimly lit room, light one more candle today. Let the quiet flame prompt some space to quiet your heart. We’ve been waiting for the baby to be born. Wait now, in your longing. Name your need for deliverance, and the deliverance of the whole world. Come Lord Jesus, come!
Tomorrow is Christmas Day and the world rejoices. But for now, pray out of the depths of your longing – for deliverance and for Christ’s return.