Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmas our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels, in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger. ~ The Bidding Prayer of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
Is there any other news to tell this world? But to come, come with us, even unto Bethlehem? Because out of Bethlehem comes Life. Out of Bethlehem comes the glorious redemption! Come with me?
Come farther than our church doors. Come farther than your dinner table. Come farther than your questions and doubts. Come laden and burdened and anxious. Come with the smallest of smiles and the widest of them.
We trail and traipse after the shepherds, straining our ears for just a glimmer of the angel song, just a hint of that star. We trip over ourselves in haste, and we lag behind, unsure of what we will find there. The journey is long, some years, and the dry desert sand cuts at our feet. Our hearts ache with the swelling promise and the wild call of hope. We stop, catch our breath. This night, the sky is scattered with stars, and the wind slices at our cheeks. Is this worth it, we whisper to each other as we trudge on.
We crest over the hill, and the star hovers above us.
He has been expecting us. He waits, helpless, for our hands to unclench and reach out for Him. He watches in delight as we discover that this thing which is come to pass is the Redemption of the world. He who is without sin becomes sin so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. He who is from everlasting to everlasting comes to us, to live under our brief hours and weeks, our poor broken measurements of time. He who authored this world dwells in it.
We are the beloved He descends to love.
We are the sheep He comes to raise up on the last day.
We are the broken battered world He gives Himself up to save.
We are the sought out; the city not forsaken.
Come, even unto Bethlehem?