Merry Christmas! Yesterday my family celebrated Christmas. We woke up early and did presents and all the traditional stuff. But we chose Christmas Eve to celebrate as we knew our church was not having a Christmas day service. And we couldn’t have made a better decision. Our hearts were more excited for the evening service than any gift that was under the tree.
The Christmas Eve service was not being held at a typical church. No. No it was being held inside a barn. The thought was overwhelmingly wonderful! So we packed the children up and set off for the farm. As we walked inside there were horse stalls all up and down the barn. Some mellow horses and some very excited ones. We could hear neighing and the sounds of their anxious feet. The barn was filled with music, a rumble of voices, colorful lights and the unmistakable smell of horse droppings. It was incredibly foul. We waited as the barn filled with bodies. And all I could think about was Mary.
Here I was standing between two horses with a baby boy in a sling on my side. He was born at home. The looks I would get from people told me they did not think it was wise to have a child in your house when there are hospitals. Just imagine the looks Mary received when people would later discover her baby was born in a barn. Among piles of manure. Thousands of years before Lysol had been invented.
And this barn last night was filled. Bodies were shoulder to shoulder. My son squealed the entire time. Babbling during the sermon and singing during worship. I could feel the looks. But I refused to quiet him. Not out of disrespect, but because the sound of a baby during a time of such wonderful reflection was a beautiful reminder. A reminder that our lives have interruptions. When we want quiet, we get loud. When we desire peace we sometimes get chaos. When we long for an answer it’s usually the one we weren’t expecting.
At the end of the service we got to behold the amazing beauty of lanterns being lifted off into the night sky. A symbol of how we, too, need to be those lights. To guide others in this dark world to a King who loves us. A King who knows how difficult it is to be an outcast.
Happy Birthday, Jesus. And thank you, sweet Mary, for trusting God and being such a beautiful vessel, a beautiful home, for Him.