8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
It starts with a single flame from a single candle in the dark…and as this flame is shared from candle to candle the whole sanctuary fills with light as we all sing Silent Night together! This is my favorite part of the Christmas Eve service, as it reminds me of how Jesus came into the world: bathed in the soft light given by off by the lamps in the stable, and the crackling of a small fire lit to keep away the chill of an early spring night, as well as the glow of love that surrounded the parents and their new baby: that same love we have known as parents…the same love that God has for us!
Just for today, despite all that we may have to do: the cooking, the visiting the presents, etc., let us stop and remember to keep it simple…as it is Jesus who calls us to follow his example, just as he lived his life by simply following the light of God’s love and then sharing this message with all who would listen!
Let us take time today to embrace our children and those we love, to enjoy the traditions, and to celebrate the light that we have all been given in the birth of a little baby; and as we do so, let us recapture the joy we felt at the birth of our children, and the gift of love that we share with them!
Help us to carry this light into our lives, in all we do, and share this joy of Christmas with all those for whom this holiday may not be quite so festive: those who have to work, those who are mourning the death of a loved one, a lost relationship, those separated from their children due to illness, military service, incarceration, misunderstandings, and visitation schedules. Let us also share the light of Christmas with those who are having money problems, struggling with addictions or family issues, and so on…
Let us remember that while this is not always a joyous time for everyone that it can still be a time filled with love, light and hope…even for those who struggle!
Even for us!
So let us carry light of God’s love not just at Christmas, but all year long…as once it is ignited the light of God’s love cannot be put out…but will only grow, until our whole world is filled with the light of Christ, and the promised Kingdom draws near!
And with that, let me wish you and your loved ones a Very Merry Christmas filled with the light of love and hope…given to us as a great gift through Christ!
Let us Pray:
God, thank you for the gift of light given to us in Christ. Please help us to carry this light in all that we do; sharing it where it is needed the most! Let us keep Christmas in our hearts today and every day, as we face life on life’s terms, and face the challenges of life as single parents! Just for today let us enjoy the holiday, time with our loved ones, and to remember those for whom this light may not shine so brightly.