My friend Chris Hearn wrote recently, "Advent is a time of preparation, but perhaps since we are saved by grace, we don’t see the need to prepare for the Lord." If we have Him already, what are we preparing for? We're preparing to hear from Him, to celebrate that He is here, and that we expect Him again. Chris explains, "it has everything to do with relationship."
Another friend, Steve Collins, posted this the same week:
So, what's so special about these shepherds? Why did they get the angelic announcement? I submit that they were the only ones ready to receive it. While everyone else was caught up in the chaos and crowds of Bethlehem, these guys were watching and listening. Who knows? Maybe the angel tried to tell others in the city, but they were too busy to hear. And that's too bad, because they missed out on quite a party.
This is what I love about Christmas Eve. It's what we've been preparing for. It's the time we're quiet enough to receive Him. It's when everything else stops.
I hope you found some quiet moments this season. And that you'll have more of them throughout the year.
I'm just gonna leave this here. Click to enlarge and just stare at it awhile. It's my favorite painting, Repose in Egypt by Luc Olivier Merson.
After they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. The angel said to him, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, because Herod intends to search for the child and kill him.” (Matthew 2:13)
Part of what I don't like about Christmas is hearing the same tired songs every year. But there are a few I do like. One I can't find on video. There's only one station I've heard it on. I've messaged them asking about it but my memory is so vague, they have nothing to go on. It's a man singing, it has an 80's sound, and the chorus is just "the star of Bethlehem, the star of Bethlehem". See? That tells you nothing. If you have ideas, let me know. Meanwhile, here are a few that are not so vague:
Audrey Assad's "Winter Snow" just wrecks me. And this live version is beautiful (after the station intro).
"In the Bleak Midwinter" is ancient -- the poem was written in the late 1800's. I didn't find the song until this Paul Colman Trio version appeared on a Christmas compilation album in 2002. For awhile, I thought I was the only person who knew it. Then last year my dad says, "Have you heard this song?" Oh, that's where I get it. (Audio only in this video.)
The Newsboys had one years back called "Adoration". I loved one of the lines so much I made a Christmas card out of it: "He takes my finger and He won't let go, and He won't let go". Amen. (lyrics video)