"O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie..."
Plodding into the small city Joseph and Mary sought shelter after their week-long trek from Nazareth. It was census time, registration was mandatory. It was also an important time in their lives; Mary would soon give birth to their first born child. Unable to find a lodging house, they huddled in an animal shed to find solace and rest under the still night sky.
"For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above, while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love..."
An angel suddenly appeared in the night sky to a group of shepherds tending their sheep. Though deeply frightened, they listened to the "good tidings of great joy." Moments later a myriad of angels hovered above them, praising God and declaring, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men." The shepherds hurried to the manger to worship this "Savior," to see firsthand this babe which was "Christ the Lord." They returned to their flocks glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen in the still of that night.
"O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today."
Come, our Lord Emmanuel, come into our hearts this day. Open our ears so we too may hear the wonderful news from on high, "Behold I bring you tidings of great joy...for unto you is born this day...a Savior, which is Christ the Lord." May we take this into our hearts as a personal invitation, a Gift with our name on it, a blessing we sorely need. Like Mary and Joseph, we have been on an arduous journey and have found no lodging for our weary souls. Yet, out of the stillness of this Nativity night, we find solace and rest in Your wondrous message.
"O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel." Amen.
[Words in italics taken from "O Little Town of Bethlehem" written by Phillip Brooks; scripture from Luke 2:1-20 KJV]
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