In Bethlehem

Originally published December 24, 2021

This week we celebrate the birth of our Savior. I love Christmas the best of all the holidays. I love to see the colorful lights in the neighborhoods, especially when there is a white snowy backdrop. It brings to me a feeling of serenity and joy. It signifies that there is something different and special about this time of year.

I spend a lot of time outside listening to music and running up and down our driveway. It is how I clear my head and blow off steam before I can settle down for bed.  I love being out there, especially now when I can see the lights and feel the spirit of the season.  I love to look at the stars and imagine being there, on a hillside near Bethlehem, tending sheep. I think that if I lived back then that would have been something that I could have done and would have enjoyed.  Sheep don’t expect a lot of conversation, and I imagine that the shepherds were men of few words. But the sheep knew them by their deeds in leading them and keeping them safe.  I would have wanted to be like that. 

I like to imagine the angel appearing and speaking to me, giving me glad tidings, and filling my heart with joy. I would also have wanted to go and see. 

I imagine walking through the busy town, feeling out-of-place and distracted, while looking for a manger, a shelter for animals, a place where I would have felt the most comfortable in all the city.  That place would have felt to me like the perfect place for the Lamb of God to be born. 

I imagine feeling drawn to the spot but also somewhat uncertain if I belonged at such a holy event.   But then, I imagine seeing Mary’s eyes welcoming me in to come and see.  I would have approached slowly, reverently, and gazed in the face of The Redeemer of the World and would have had a moment of remembrance and recognition.  He would have looked at me with eyes that said, “I know you.  I love you.”  That experience would have stayed with me forever.  

May we all find time to leave behind the hustle and bustle of Bethlehem, find the quiet of the humble manger, gaze into the eyes of the Savior, and remember that He knows us.  He loves us.  And let that carry each of us forward to a great new year.   Merry Christmas. 

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