Growing up, once my parents retired for the evening on this blessed day, I would turn off all the overhead lights in my room and sit in the dark with a lone candle. Then, I’d open my Bible and read the story of my Lord’s birth. Though I don’t usually read from the King James Version, on Christmas Eve, I always did. If you’re like me, there is just something enchanting about the lyrical language in the second chapter of Luke:
“…And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’
“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.'”
There is, of course, much more to be read in Luke 2. I simply transcribed above the verses 1-14. I’ll bet many of you can just hear Linus reciting this passage in Charlie Brown Christmas. To me, this is the most beautiful depiction of Our Lord’s birth in any of the gospels. Every Christmas Eve, even now in my married life, I’ll steal away just a bit of time to myself or I’ll have my husband next to me, and I’ll light a candle and read this passage. For me, it ushers into my heart the true meaning of Christmas and reminds me that it is not about me, or about presents…but it is about the birth of Jesus Christ.
I wish you all, this night, a blessed Christmas Eve and a glorious Christmas Day tomorrow morning!