Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas--A Baby! A Baby! A Baby-- 4th Sunday in Advent

"On that night of nights--God came down the
 stairs of heaven with a child in his arms."
           --Paul Scherer

As I read the Isaiah 7 text for the week Christmas began to knock on my door. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." And the New Testament passage helps us remember. "She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

What do we say as we stand before the mystery of mysteries? Music helps. The gift of just being together again under one roof helps. Decorations might help. Cards that come from far-away may help. Taking a food basket or clothes to  a family in need could help--if we don't forget the family after Christmas. Advent services--particularly Christmas Eve helps.  Just sitting in the darkness pondering the mystery as we look at our Christmas tree or lighted candles--could take us back to the wonder of it all.  

But let's face it--there is no way to really express this inexpressible gift. But we try and sometimes we pull it off.  One of the best ways I have ever seen this glory of Christmas expressed came from a strange source. Our Christmas texts help me remember. It happened on the Bill Cosby Show years ago. Bill was trying to help a woman have a baby. He was stranded with this woman and her two children in a terrible rainstorm. All the lights and telephones had been knocked out. The very-pregnant woman told him she had her two other children by natural childbirth and there was not much for Bill to fear. He didn't believe her. He knew he had to do something to help this woman. What? He offered to get boiling water. He ran around frantically looking for towels. Nothing he did seemed to work. He tried to smile at the woman but it wasn't really reassuring. He finally ended up with this helpless look on his face just swinging his arms in the air. The baby came and the mother survived and Bill, was thrilled beyond words. He just walked out into the rain with a voice colored with many meaning, simply saying over and over, "A baby! A baby! A baby!

So amid our power failures and hard times and troubled world--we can stand open-mouthed and wondering before this great miracle called Christmas. What else can we say? "A baby! A baby! A baby!

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