You know how the poem goes:
“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”
I always love the story about jolly Old St. Nicholas. In part because it captures all that is good about the innocence of our childhood, or maybe because St. Nick even reminds us of God always looking to give good gifts to his children. And every year I smile big when I think of Big Old St Nick, and start to wonder if any of our Christmas traditions today would be the same without that night in Bethlehem, what would we be celebrating if we did not have the story of the shepherds and the angels?
And it seems to me that every year, whenever I see the lights in the neighborhood, the christmas trees, and hear the carols my heart says: Without that night in Bethlehem our joy would not be complete. Because gifts, cookies and all the joy of the season fades in the light that shines through the manger, where God has come to dwell with his creation. It is in that night of Bethlehem that we find meaning, and that meaning transcends all ages, cultures and in that night in Bethlehem we find ourselves for who we truly are: Beloved by the God of the Universe.