Christmas Eve

The following is a communion meditation written by my dad, for the Christmas Eve service at his church tonight.  I got the chance to read it on Saturday and it gave me goosebumps.  I just had to share it. 

THE SCENE IS A SPARSE HILL IN ANCIENT JUDEA, NOT FAR FORM JERUSALEM.  NEARBY IS A CAVE.  JESUS WEARS ONE MEAGER GARMENT.  MARY IS WATCHING, WONDERING WHAT IT ALL MEANS.  A MAN IS STANDING BESIDE HER, NOT THE FATHER OF JESUS, BUT THE ONE WHO WILL CARE FOR HER.  BENEATH JESUS ARE BEAMS OF ROUGH WOOD.  ABOVE, THE HEAVENS SPARKLE WITH SUPERNATURAL SPLENDOR.  IN THE CITY SITS HEROD PONDERING JESUS DEATH.  JEWISH LEADERS DISCUSS HIS COMING.  NEARBY ARE OUTCASTS, GIVING THEIR OWN CRUDE TESTIMONY.  SOON RICH MEN ARRIVE WITH GIFTS JUST AS SUITED FOR A BURIAL AS A BIRTH.  ARE WE REMEMBERING A BIRTH OR A DEATH?  A MANGER OR A CROSS.  THE HILL COULD BE A SHEEP STUDDED HILL NEAR BETHLEHEM, OR IT COULD BE THE HILL CALLED GOLGATHA.  THE CAVE COULD BE A STABLE CRUDELY CUT INTO ONE OF BETHLEHEMS HILLS, OR IT COULD BE A BURIAL VAULT RECENTLY CARVED IN A NEARBY CEMETARY.  THE MEAGER GARMENT COULD BE SWADDLING CLOTHES OR A BLOODY, RAGGED LOINCLOTH.  IT IS JESUS OF COURSE, BUT IS HE A NEWBORN BABY OR A DYING MAN?  IT IS MARY, BUT IS SHE SITTING AT A CRADLE COMFORTING HER BABY OR CROUCHING, CRYING, HERSELF IN NEED OF COMFORT?  IS THE MAN JOSEPH THE CARPENTER, OR JOHN, WHO WILL MAKE HER A HOME?  ARE THE ROUGH WOODEN BEAMS BENEATH JESUS A MANGER OR A CROSS?  ARE THEY SEEING THE HEAVENS SPARKLE, OR AN ECLIPSED SUN AND A BLOOD RED MOON?  THE HEROD COULD BE THE GREAT WHO TRIED TO KILL THE BABY, OR HIS SON WHO IN A SENSE SUCCEEDED.  THE OUTCASTS COULD BE SHEPHERDS, KNEELING AT THE MANGER, OR THIEVES HANGING ON EITHER SIDE OF JESUS.  THE RICH MEN COULD BE MAGI WHO OFFER EXPENSIVE GIFTS, OR NICODEMUS AND JOSEPH WHO OFFER ONLY AN EMPTY TOMB.  IT’S AS THOUGH THERE WAS A MIRROR IN THE MANGER, A BIRTH REFLECTING A DEATH.  WE COME TONIGHT TO CELEBRATE THE BIRTH OF OUR SAVIOUR, WE COME TO CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF JESUS, BUT WE COME TO THIS TIME OF COMMUNION TO REMEMBER THE SACRIFICE THAT HE MADE WHEN HE WENT TO THE CROSS AND WILLINGLY GAVE HIS LIFE, THAT YOU AND I, AND ALL MANKIND COULD BE FORGIVEN AND HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY OF ETERNAL LIFE IN HEAVEN WITH JESUS WHO WAS BORN TO DIE FOR OUR SINS. 

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