Tonight Susanne and I had the opportunity to attend a Christmas special held at one of our churches. The night before we went to a Christmas music special downtown. Both events warmed our hearts. Advent brings back memories from so many different places. Tonight as I sat in the darkened auditorium, I remembered Christmas programs from my childhood. Dressed in a bathrobe and towel around my head I played a ‘wiseman’ 50 years ago. Our reward was bag filled with hard candy, a couple of chocolate drops and walnuts, to make the bag complete we were give an apple and an orange as well. My two lines were rehearsed and rehearsed and just as quickly as I spoke them I was done and sitting back with the other children on the second row. Tonight we had orchestration, real costumes and choreography. Choreography in Christmas programs happened decades after my youth! So, this week, I have seen and heard the Indianapolis Symphony orchestra, and a larger church presentation, both done with excellence and spirit. Yet, tonight Pastor Michael Morris captured my imagination when he told a story to illustrate God’s love in coming to us. He told a story of a mother punishing her toddler by putting him in his crib and telling him he would have to stay there for awhile. Grandpa was in the room as well, and her orders to grandpa were, “he has to stay in his crib, he is being punished.” Grandpa had a dilemma, the little boy seeing his grandfather, stretched out his little arms and cried, “Grandpa, out….grandpa out.” Grandpa wanted to sweep the little guy up in his arms, but he knew the warning he had been given by his daughter not to get him out of bed. A few moments later the mother opened the door to see what had happened. And yes grandpa and grandson were in the room together. Yet grandpa had not gotten him out of bed, instead grandpa climbed into the crib with the little boy. He came to him. That is the meaning of Emmanuel, God with us. He did not ask us to try harder to get to him, he came to us. The Christ child came into our world and dwelt among us, and we will never be the same. Whenever you feel alone and that no one cares, remember God loved you so much that He came into the world to be with you, to redeem you, yes to save you and all of us!
God with us! That is the message of Christmas. He came for us and to us and He remains if we will allow Him, right in the center of our lives. Let us celebrate the Christ the newborn King. He has come and that has made all the difference in our lives.