First Christian Church | Pittsfield

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Keeping Faith

12.19.18 | by Michael Ten Eyck

    It was quite odd for me to watch a Christmas Nativity story being played out while sitting in a an 88 degree room in the tropics.  There were no Christmas sweaters or Christmas dresses and the evergreens were replaced with a potted palm trees.

     

    These were not the only thing that stood out to me, however.  The most impactful difference I observed was watching a crowded room view the Christmas story with fresh eyes.  

     

    In Cuba, the celebration of Christmas was banned for quite some time.  Only recently was the practice of celebrating Christmas allowed again. Because of this hiatus, limited communication and the oppressed nature of the Cuban people many are viewing the Christmas story with fresh eyes.

     

    Imagine what a gift that would be…

     

    I watched little eyes in wonder and amazement at the procession of the star taking its place over the manger.  Each little part of the story that we have become so familiar with was presented with pageantry and received in awe.  

     

    Children pointed to the various characters and parents whispered in their ears explanations of what they was being played out before their enchanted gaze. Jesus words to His disciples stirred in my heart.

     

    Luke 18:15-17  Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. 16 But Jesus called them to him, saying, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God.  17 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it."

    ESV

     

    I wonder if in our familiarity with the story of Christ’s birth we can sometimes fail to share it with the amazement and excitement that this event deserves.

     

    Has Christmastime become “old hat” to you? I believe it can to all of us from time to time. If so, may I invite you to take a step back this year.  Pause and consider the impossible and miraculous events that unfolded changing the course of history. The very nature of these long foretold promises were so magnificent that all heaven and nature sang out at the Advent of Christ.  The story of Christ’s birth impacts all of us.

     

    The songwriter put it like this… it was the dawn of redeeming grace…  let that sink in for a moment.

     

    I believe such a pause will re-energize our approach to Christmas, and perhaps bring to us all a perspective of childlike amazement and wonder.

     

    God bless you on your journey to come and behold the One born to save.

     

    Loving you all,

     

    Michael