Christmas morning comes earlier than most days. Eager anticipation of a dream come true drives me out of bed hours before anyone else is awake. I grab my robe, shuffle into my slippers, and tiptoe down the stairs hoping the creaking doesn’t disturb the dog. Still curled up in his warm bed, he greets me with a lifted head and a wag of his tail as I come off the last step.
He knows what I’m up to. A quick trip to the kitchen for a hot cup of coffee, and I’m ready for my favorite piece of the day; sitting quietly, alone on the couch with only the tree and the soft glow of twinkling lights to keep me company. I sit here wistfully remembering other Christmas mornings and other cups of coffee shared with family members now gone to Glory. I think of little children, now grown with kids of their own, whose laughter and delight still echo in the quiet around me.
Eventually, my thoughts center on one memory as my eyes focus on the Nativity nestled beneath the tree. It’s old, just cardboard and plastic with a few bits of straw glued on here and there. It captured my imagination when I was 5 or 6 and holds it still. This King of the Jews, this Prince of Peace, this smiling baby lying in a manger, surrounded by shepherds and livestock and wise men was none other than God himself. Immanuel, the prophet called him. God with us. God. With. Us. The most profound, most comforting, most encouraging truth of every Christmas ever!
Thank you, Jesus, for coming. Your presence today is the best present today. The gifts will come later.
~ Peggy Lundy, writer
~ Deana Harvey, painter
“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.’ All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us).” Matthew 1:20-23 ESV