For Unto Us a Child is Born
As people flowed out of the chapel, shaking my hand, many said they weren't sure they were going to bed tonight - there were presents still unwrapped, the turkey hadn't completely thawed, tables needed setting and a host of other concerns.
Clearly, there is a lot happening this Christmas. But it is not at parties, or in shopping, or the excitement of the Christmas lights. To find out what is really going on you need to stop and listen; if you listen closely enough, perhaps you will hear it: a sharp, persistent cry: the cry of a baby: God's cry, as He visits His people. He is the Word made flesh, yet newly-born He cannot speak. But goodness, how He wails. Every mother knows that imploring sound: it stops her in her tracks, makes her put everything down and run towards the child. It is a cry for help and protection; a cry for love and intimacy.
The Child of Bethlehem cries on behalf of the lost and the lonely, the exiled stranger, those struck by grief; His is the cry of the elderly who spend most of their hours alone, the prisoner who faces his own guilt, the trafficked children who are frightened and exploited, the orphans suffering from HIV and AIDS. They are not asking for much- only to be part of the human family. Whether it’s the abandoned children of the world, or here at home, do not forget that He cries for you too, whoever you are: for deep in our own hearts we are all pleading for intimacy and merciful love.
When you are with those you love this Christmas, I hope you will listen for that cry in the hearts of others. And that the cry of the hearts of the people outside your windows stops you in your tracks.
You can kill people in crowds, but you can only kiss them one by one. The message of the Christ Child is that we are not a crowd. We are many; but God sees only each of us. Tonight God slips gently into the world as a child, to be with us. There is nothing we have done that cannot be forgiven; there is nothing about us which will stop God loving us. Listen for the sound. God is crying for you and me. He wants to embrace you.
To find out what is really going on this Christmas, let Him.
I wish you a Joyous Christmas. May you experience Christ's love in everything you do!