by Elsa Kok

What A Night!

I TRY TO IMAGINE WHAT IT WOULD HAVE FELT like on that night. If I had been alive on that Christmas Eve 2003 years ago, what would I have done?

What if I were among the ones to see the star? I can picture the home I would have lived in, a small place, a little run-down but homey nonetheless.

Knowing me, my feet would have been kicked up on the nearest stool, and I'd have been reading the latest scroll by candlelight. I'd be loath to put it down--eager to find out what would happen when the Roman guard fell for the forbidden princess.

The bright light streaming through the cracks in the wall would probably distract me at first. With no vehicles to blame it on, I'd consider yelling at the local rabblerousers for turning their lanterns up so high. By the time its steadiness caught my attention, God would be tapping His fingers in frustration.

I'd wander outside to see what was going on, and I'm certain my mouth would drop at the sight of the bright star. I'd think of aliens or meteors or perhaps the end of the world. I know I'd be scared. Imagine how bright it must have been!

I'd catch sight of the shepherds from my back stoop, traveling along with winded smiles, their breath shimmering in the night air.

"Hey, where are you headed in such a hurry?" I'd call out. Everyone would be talking at once. "Angels . . . following the star . . . going to see the King . . . come along if you wish . . . oh, it's so exciting!"

Sneaking around

I would have given in, thanks to my curiosity. Quickly and covertly (maybe pretending to be a top Roman agent), I would have followed the shepherds. Over rugged hills on winding paths, stumbling over bits of desert terrain--it's be hard. Of course, I'd blame my wheezing and difficulty keeping up on the notion that shepherds are typically in better shape--all that sheep-herding and such. I would not acknowledge that I'd had one too many Bethlehem bonbons by firelight.

I'd get tired after a while. Maybe I'd even forget the majesty of the bright star and how beautiful the world looked bathed in its light. I'd grumble and wish I hadn't come, but I'd keep going anyway.

The Baby Jesus

The manger would have looked small under the vast expanse of sky. On the edge of town, not much would surround it--maybe a cow and a pig and a sheep or two. There would be a few people gathered there. All that way to see some farm animals? I"s grumble to myself.

Then something would stir in the air--a feeling, a chill, a sense that this was no ordinary moment. I'd know it. A heavenly glow would surround the darkened manger. Not really understanding why, I'd bow my head.

have you considered . . . ?
  • What you would say to the Christ child if you had the opportunity to kneel beside that makeshift crib?
  • What gift you would have brought Him?
  • When I actually beheld Him, gased upon the innocent face of the newborn, I know what would happen. Tears would come; they would flow freely while a smile tightened ny face. Emotion of such power and sensation would overwhelm me, I'd feel His goodness, His kindness and His royal heritage. What joy to be part of that moment in history!

    I wish I had been there, a curious woman following the excited shepherds. I would have knelt beside His makeshift crib and thanked Him for His vulnerability, His purity and His sacrifice.

    I would tell Him of a woman, more than 2,000 years later, who would celebrate His birth. I'd whisper how His life, death and resurrection changed her very core. I'd explain how her life, which was messy and unappealing, had found purpose in His existence--how neither divorce nor addictions, neither poor choices nor mistakes in parenting had been able to separate her from His love. I'd cry and say how His gift gave her grace and growth and love and a future. And then I'd share that I was that woman. Yes, I would have liked to have been there.

    What a night it would have been!

    Taken from Focus On The Family, December 2003, www.family.org
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