By the time I started heading home from work, it was completely and utterly dark. I switched on the lights and rode slowly. My pace was not dictated by the darkness. Nor was it incumbent on my physical limitation. I rode slowly simply because that's how fast I wanted to ride. This was my final ride home in the dark for this year. The following day, I would be heading home to Louisiana for the holidays. I wanted to enjoy this final ride. I wanted to look around and take in my surroundings. I wanted to make it last.
As I was crossing a side street, I glanced down it to make sure no cars were coming. As I did, a particular house caught my attention, it was decked out with lights and Christmas decorations. Wanting a closer look, I turned down the street, stopped in front of the house and admired the handiwork.They had
- huge snow globes
- reindeer and a sleigh
- a Ferris wheel and Merry-go-round
- Santa and Mrs. Claus
- snowmen, toy soldiers and elves
- candy canes and stockings
- miles of lights strung to and from, up and down, in and out and amidst it all.
- and finally, the whole scene was choreographed to Christmas carols, echoing softly in the night.
After a few minutes of enjoying the scene, I pushed away and rode on down the same street, making my way around the block and back to my normal route home. Two doors down from the winter wonderland house, something else caught my attention. In the side yard were three small, simple, white figures. One was of a little baby, lying in a manger, the other two, were a man and woman looking over it. While above the three, a single star was suspended in the sky. I stopped again, climbed off the bike, sat across the top tube and let this simple scene touch me.After some time, I managed to pull myself away and climb back on my bike. I rode home even slower. As I did, I pondered Christmas. I love Christmas. I love the whole season. I love the hustle and bustle, the excitement, the activities, the lights, the songs and the time together with family and loved ones.
Yet in all these wonderful things, it is so easy to forget what Christmas is really all about. “The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.” For me, this single verse out of the Gospel of John embodies all that the Christmas story is about. Throughout the old testament, there are countless stories of God appearing to man in many different ways. Yet, the Christmas story is different. In this story, God did not just appear to man. In the Christmas story, “God became a man.” The living, omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient, almighty, Alpha and Omega, eternal, all powerful GOD, became flesh and blood and dwelt among us.
One would have thought, that when God came to earth that: He would be raised by royalty, yet his parents were mere peasants. He would be born in a palace, yet he entered this world in a stable, because there was no room in the inn. His birth would be attended by all the movers and shakers of the world, yet the only ones that came were smelly shepherds in the fields nearby.
The Christmas scenes that I had just observed brought all this flooding into my heart and mind. What caught my attention was all the lights and fanfare of the festively ,decorated home. It would have been easy to overlook the simple nativity scene. It didn't jump out at you. It was not displayed in a prominent area of the yard. There was nothing distinct to announce its presence. Yet in this simple, quiet scene, the heart of Christmas is captured as perfectly as God orchestrated it some 2000 years before.
“The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us.” My hope and prayer for each of you this Christmas, is that you let Jesus be as human as he intended to be. Let Him into the muck and mire of your everyday life. For it’s only when you let Him in, that He can pull you out.
Merry Christmas and God Bless!