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the night before christmas

it was the night before christmas
and all through the world
everything looked like business as usual

shepherds sat on a hillside
looking up at the stars
while the world fell asleep
unaware just how deep
was the darkness the night before christmas

and the night before christmas
seemed to be just a night
but the wind blew like something was coming

and like children with secrets
that they're bursting to tell
the cedars danced in the breeze
while all of nature, it seemed
held its breath
on the night before christmas

and Hope
Hope long awaited
the Hope of the ages
would break with the dawn
and the song that all of creation
was anticipating
would start with a baby's first cry

and on the night before Christmas
Mary lay down her head
and Joseph, he paced the floor
praying

in an everyday stable
in an everyday town
in the hours to come

God would wrap Himself up
and come down from heaven
and the world would forever be changed
after the night before christmas

"the night before christmas"
Steven Curtis Chapman

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

i imagine the shepherds sitting there.
they had just finished their head-count of the sheep
tired and cold, they sat on a nearby cluster of rocks
and hoped maybe tonight would bring an adventure of some kind
something to break up the monotony of the night

i wonder if the breeze whispered strangely
i wonder if the sky looked different
or if the leaves were rattling in the wind
like they do just before a storm

i wonder if they had a feeling
that for some reason this night was significant.
somehow.
on the timeline of history

i wonder what they were talking about that evening
i can't help but wonder if they were devout Jewish boys
did they, deep down, believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob
did they know about the promised Messiah that Isaiah prophesied?
after 400 years of silence, did they truly believe in the God of their forefathers?

i can imagine that they did
once the angel appeared
and gave them
the lowly, outcast, poor shepherds
the opportunity to be the first to experience the most profound miracle
that ever was, and ever will be.

God, wrapping Himself in flesh
becoming a human.
[a newborn baby human]
so that He could reconcile the great chasm that sin created
between a holy God and a wretched humanity.
so that He could be the mediator, the redeemer, the Savior.
that He could lead a sinless life,
pouring Himself out in love and grace to all He met
to be killed on a cross, but raised to life three days later.
to ascend to Heaven so that He could send the Great Counselor
the Holy Spirit, to be our helper and our guide,
our very breath and sustenance.
to live. inside. us.

He did all this,
with the hope that we'd believe and accept and embrace
that He is the Word became flesh
that He is the Way the Truth and the Life...

knowing that some of us would never believe
or trust or hope in Him.
some of us would never know peace,
never allow His grace to cover us.
some of us would still mock and spit.

He did it anyway.

Because He so loved the world.

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