Focal passage: Isaiah 9:6-7; Luke 1:26-33
My dog Cooper, a red golden retriever, loves barking at UPS, USPS, FedEx and Amazon vans. Whether they stop in front of our house to deliver or simply drive by, if Cooper sees, we all hear. He’ll alert, bolt to the window, square up with his front two paws steady on the windowsill and let the van have it! At nearly five years old, he’s seen hundreds of delivery vans by now, and yet, each time he hears the low grumble outside or notices the boxy frame, he’s all attention.
As the Christmas season passes and we begin wrapping up ornaments and packing away stockings, a twinge of melancholy can set in. The house looks emptier than ever and the once twinkling outline of neighborhoods now seem darker, colder and more disconnected. We grow so accustomed to the bustle of the holidays, the quiet of a new year can be a bit unsettling. And yet, the end of December is simply the beginning of January: a new year, a deep inhale, another start. Something more mundane but nonetheless sacred.
We don’t know what the shepherds did when they found Jesus, but we know this: they had to return home. They couldn’t stay at the manger. They continued in the rhythm of daily life, feeding their sheep and tending to their families. Joseph and Mary, too, had routines to return to – meals to prepare, rooms to clean, woodworking orders to fulfill, a new baby to care for. There’s such a beautiful juxtaposition of this miraculous birth, the long-awaited Messiah, and the world He was born into with the ebb and flow of busy and mundane. The miracle isn’t just the baby in the manger, but what Christ did after – healing, teaching, proclaiming, forgiving, redeeming, dying, rising again, commissioning, and then sitting down at the right hand of His Father. And one day, the long-awaited Messiah will come again!
What we’ve read about and celebrated each year, we’ll one day witness firsthand. Tomorrow or 50 Christmases from now, we’ll be all attention!