Daily D – Luke 2:6-7
And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. LUKE 2:6-7 (NLT)
The Center for Disease Control strongly warns us not to travel for Christmas this year. They said the same thing about Thanksgiving. The significant spike in cases of COVID since Thanksgiving indicates they were probably right then. They are probably right now.
This reality means a lot of grandparents and great-grandparents are not going to get to spend time with their extended families. I’ll Be Home for Christmas was written about a season when people wanted to be home together but often could not. The wistful, almost mournful feel of this classic tune resonates a bit more deeply this year.
There is something special about waking up in a home full of loved ones on Christmas morning. The tree aglow, presents piled up, fire in the fireplace, coffee and breakfast in process. Those are memories we will treasure this year from Christmases past. Those are memories we plan to make again in Christmases to come.
Ours is not the first Christmas interrupted by events beyond our control. The first Christmas perhaps set the pattern for many to come. The circumstances of Mary and Joseph and Jesus were definitely not a home-for-Christmas Hallmark movie setting.
Two songs will be sung in churches live and via livestream tonight. Silent Nightand O Holy Night will echo with deep emotion. Each reminds us of the beauty and wonder of all that Christmas means. This is a time to remember that in darkening days long ago, the Light of the World entered to drive back the night.
This is a time for worship. This is the time to fall on your knees. The Creator of all things stepped into time and offered access to eternity. More than timeless existence, he offers relationship which is deep, personal, and safely loving. There is no fear, no malice, no worry, no separation. This relationship is full of all the best things about being home for Christmas.
A cave, a manger, livestock, noisy shepherds, a mom, a dad, and a baby boy. A family far from home. A family that would soon be threatened with death. Maybe, just maybe, God does his best work in dark times when people most recognize their need for him.
We may not be home for Christmas this year, but we may find meaning in our separation and a devotion for what matters most. Let us begin planning and working for better opportunities for Christmas gatherings next year so that our songs and our experience are more sacred and beautiful than ever.
I will worship with wonder in this season when I cannot wander.
Our Father, like Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, help us make a home wherever we are this year. Bless us with meaningful moments of love and devotion even in our season of separation. Thank you for places to call home. Thank you for making your home in our hearts. Thank you that you will take us home to be with you one day. Amen.
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1 Samuel 24:16, 17 When David finished saying these things to him, Saul replied, “Is that your voice, David my son?” Then Saul wept aloud and said to David, “You are more righteous than I, for you have done what is good to me though I have done what is evil to you.” (CSB)
1 Samuel 18:5 David marched out with the army and was successful in everything Saul sent him to do. Saul put him in command of the fighting men, which pleased all the people and Saul’s servants as well. (CSB)
1 Samuel 13:13, 14 Samuel said to Saul, “You have been foolish. You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. It was at this time that the LORD would have permanently established your reign over Israel, but now your reign will not endure. The LORD has found a man after his own heart, and the LORD has appointed him as ruler over his people, because you have not done what the LORD commanded.” (CSB)