“Tomorrow is Christmas!”
As children, we proclaimed it over and over every 24thof December. It was our Christmas Eve battle cry. We didn’t speak in hushed or quiet tones; we nearly shouted those three excited words. For 364 days we had waited since the previous year’s Christmas and suddenly the wait for the magical Christmas morning was nearly over. Christmas was almost here.
At our house, Christmas Eve came with its own share of magic. It meant a late dinner, about 8:00 late for a family that always had dinner on the table at 6:15. So, even the wait for dinner was special and grueling, because our small stomachs were used to being satisfied much earlier than that. But this night meant special foods that were reserved for that meal alone during the year. And then when that was done we dressed in our Christmas best and headed to the church for an 11:00 church service, a very late night for children who were normally fast asleep in their beds somewhere around 8:30 or 9:00.
The Christmas Eve service sometimes meant a cantata sung by the little choir that practiced for months for this one special night. It often included a kids’ performance of the nativity with bathrobes making their public appearances. But it always concluded with the lights turned low and candles lit around the church to remind us how much light each and every one of us can carry to a dark world.
And then nearly at the stroke of midnight, we left the warmth and glow of the church to walk out into the crisp cold night air of Ohio. Often snowflakes were falling and the dark night sky was lit by a million or so stars. Our little country church wasn’t surrounded by big city lights or tall, tall buildings, so the stars stood out.
And every year, as we walked out of our little country church, we had the privilege of looking up. The celebrations for the birth of Jesus have changed over the centuries. Commercialism and consumerism and sensationalism have invaded our celebrations. But the night sky has remained the same sky that the shepherds saw years before when it filled with an angelic choir. On that first Christmas Eve those shepherds had heard that a Savior had been born. We had just heard those same words. The shepherds came to see, but left to tell.
We have the very same message that a Savior has been born. We still have the same challenge, come and see, but leave to tell.
And every Christmas Eve we can identify with the shepherds. Our heavenly sky is studded with the same stars. Our eyes can still see what they saw and what they saw caused them to go and investigate. They had to find out the truth.
We too have the challenge to not just see, but to investigate, to study, to learn, to discover the truth.
We don’t need to wait till Christmas Eve; we can look up every single day of our lives. God did all that He said and more and every time we look up, we get to be included in the heavenly story.