When we long for something, when we hunger, we feel it in our gut. For kids, almost better than opening presents, is the anticipation of the presents. The yearning. The dreaming. Wondering. Hoping. Waiting, waiting, waiting… until…. finally.
Before the finally, before Christmas day, I want to yearn. I want to be a star-gazer, a ragged shepherd turned herald, an innkeeper who has little to offer but offers it anyway.
Before we celebrate, let’s forget. Forget we know what happens in the story. Pretend, just for a moment, we don’t know anything about the baby in the straw. Baby? Why would there be a baby in the straw? Strange.
Let’s pretend we’re the Israelites, striving to uphold an impossible Law. Sacrificing our best animals to pay for all the bad, to make ourselves right with God. A holy God. A God who loves us, who’s lead us out of slavery, but a God who is so very different than us. A God who reveals himself in bursts of glory, to Moses, to Abraham, to a chosen few at chosen times. But probably not to us. We’re just regular people. Except we’re God’s chosen people so we wait and long and yearn …
When? How long? Where are you God? Do you see us? Do you remember us? Will you come for us? How will we ever reach you? Do you remember your promise to us?
Oh come oh come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel!
If we don’t long, if we don’t seek, if we don’t search, if we don’t hunger, we may miss him. He might get buried under the wrapping paper, overshadowed by all the lights we string along our houses, forgotten among the credit card receipts and parties and baked hams and gingerbread houses and the season will pass by in a red and green blur and we’ll take down the tree and say, Huh. I didn’t see him. Where was he?
While night after night the stars above us shout out the story.
I don’t want to miss him. I want bathe in the beautiful irony of this season called Christmas. I want to momentarily forget what I know so I can remember to wonder. I want to yearn.
Join me if you’d like. Twenty days. Twelve Christmas blogs. One desire: to gasp in joy when we finally behold the baby in the straw.