Many thanks Anne for sharing your work with us…
What will you see this Christmas? by Anne Peterson
Christmas is coming. People experience it differently. It all depends on what they are looking at.
Listen carefully. If you’re really quiet, you can hear the gentle breathing of a baby. And in the distance, you can hear angels singing to both heaven and earth. Heralding a birth. You can hear it, can’t you?
Now look up. You’ll see a star, placed in the sky above the manger. God’s birth announcement about his Son. Simple, elegant with just a pinch of showy.
And you will smell the scent of fresh hay in the animal trough. The baby sleeps on it, all swaddled. His mother picks him up, holding him close to her heart. The same heart that will break one day. She watches with wonder her little miracle.
Touch the baby’s skin. It is soft, like a whisper. I want to stay there beside the manger. To watch a mother’s love blanket her child.
Can you taste the peace? Peace personified. Peace offered to all, but only accepted by some. Peace people search for their whole lives. See the prince of peace?
It’s one night we can’t forget. One event that changed history for all time. And yet, we live in a world that pulls us away, in other directions. Wanting us anywhere but by the Savior.
We hear the sound of scanning machines tallying up purchases. We hear car horns sounding off in heavy traffic. Endless commercials blast us with things we need to buy to make the Christmas special.
We see people hurrying around with lists longer than their arms. People who have things to do, gifts to buy, parties to attend.
What do you smell? Maybe it’s the pine scent from the Christmas tree. Or cinnamon candles lit on beautifully set tables. Perhaps it’s the faint smell of rum in the egg nog.
Happily we touch gifts underneath the tree. Placing ornaments in just in the right spots. we stand back and look. We stuff goodies into stockings. We decorate everywhere our eyes can see.
Finally, we taste cookies fresh out of the oven. We gobble sweets that show up at every gathering. Food that looks too good to eat, but we we’ll eat them just the same.
How can we balance? When our hearts long to stay by the manger, how can we resist being swallowed up by the world’s snapshot of Christmas?
How do we prepare?
Just like preparing for those who will come to our homes, we need to prepare for the guest of honor. We do this by spending time with him. Like Mary, we sit at his feet.
- We can sing to him.
- Spend time in his word.
- Tell others about him.
We know some who don’t know Jesus personally. Christmas is the perfect time to make introductions.
Those of us who are followers of Jesus can experience Christmas in a totally different way. The world may sing the carols, but we know the words.
I once asked Jesus how he felt watching us around Christmas. This is what he told me.
Don’t Forget me
As you make your preparations
for the coming weeks ahead,
As you’re baking and your shopping
each night dropping into bed,
As you’re putting final touches
on your almost perfect tree,
Won’t you take a precious moment,
just to stop and think of me?
People make their celebrations,
some are big, and others small,
I just find it disappointing;
some don’t think of me at all,
For it was so long ago
that I was born upon that night,
And my Father God, in heaven,
lit the sky with one great light.
As you’re celebrating Christmas,
with your friends, and family,
Just remember, it’s my birthday,
and your party is for me.
I don’t know about you, but I know what I’m looking at this Christmas. If you want me, I’ll be in the stable.
Anne Peterson is the published author of 42 Bible Studies with Christianity Today, as well as about 25 articles. She is a speaker and a poet whose work is sold in the U.S. as well as in 23 countries. She is also a proud grandmother to Jude and Charlie.