This is the start of our celebration of the birth of Jesus, God’s Son, into the world. Traditionally the celebrations lasted for twelve nights. We have followed Joseph and Mary on their arduous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and we have felt for them as they called at one lodging place after another, discovering that there was no room for them and the baby. We now rejoice in the kindness of the one who found them a place where they may wait until the moment arrives. Tonight we wait expectantly with them for the first cries of the baby. We wait with shepherds watching sheep, expecting nothing but a normal fairly boring night, trying to keep warm – and awake in case the flock is threatened. Because we know the story, we wait expectantly for heaven to break into their monotony, the angels’ chorus and the amazing message, ‘A Saviour has been born to you – Christ the Lord!’ Let us run to the manger with them, and see with wonder the child born to change the course of the whole world.
Let us take the words of David Adam, found in ‘Celtic Daily Prayer’, as our prayer/meditation:
I open the stable door; I kneel before the infant; I worship with the shepherds; I adore the Christ child. I give my love with Mary and Joseph; I wonder at the ‘Word made flesh’.
I am aware of the love of God: I sing glory with the angels; I offer my gifts with the wise men.
I receive the living Lord; I hold Him in my hands; I go on my way rejoicing, glorifying and praising God.