What I’m Thinking: First Christmas Morning

Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth offers a vivid description of the night. What happened, I wonder, the next morning?

Here’s a transcript:

I’m thinking about the second chapter of Luke’s gospel (Luke 2:1-20), Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem of Judea.

Luke’s account is the one that we know best. It’s the one that includes the stable and the inn that was full up. It’s the one that includes the shepherds on the hillside and the angels singing in chorus. It’s the one in which Mary hears all these things and holds them in her heart.

As I’m looking forward to Christmas Day, however, I have to admit that I am thinking less about what Luke said and more about what he didn’t say. Luke focused his account upon that first night, upon the birth itself, upon the proclamation to the shepherds, upon the shepherds’ visit to Bethlehem. Luke then moved on and didn’t speak about what happened the next morning.

A child’s birth is dramatic. There’s pain, there’s fear, and then there’s joy and there’s wonder, especially the birth of a first child to parents who’ve never experienced any of this before. After that first night, however, comes the first morning, and now babies struggle to learn how to get nourishment — it’s not something that’s all that self-evident. And fathers watch the mothers and try to figure out ways to help and sometimes they don’t think of them, and sometimes the mothers don’t think of them, and sometimes the mothers think of them and the fathers don’t (and that’s not the best thing either). On that first morning, suddenly there are more people about, inquiring, sometimes trying to help, sometimes just coming along to see.

On their first morning the choirs of angels give way to the simple business of seeing that a small child lives and grows and thrives. Now on our Christmas Day celebrations, including our worship, oh my goodness. There will be all the festivities of that night, all the wonder, all the majesty, all the music. But do not forget that first and second and third mornings of that family, when a duo became a trio, when a profoundly vulnerable and needy new person emerged into the world and demanded (oh, yes, demanded) to be cared for and nurtured and loved.

The wonder of the angels is the very same as the cry of the newborn. In both the night and in the day, there is the work to be done, the care to be given, the love to be shared. Let the nights of wonder give way to the days of work and of love. Merry Christmas to you one and all.

That’s what I’m thinking. I’m curious to hear what you’re thinking. Leave me your thoughts in the comments section below; I’d love to hear from you.

Categories What I'm Thinking | Tags: , | Posted on December 19, 2022

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