by Mel Lawrenz
"While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born." - Luke 2:6
On the night before Jesus was born, the shepherds would have seen the night sky the way they had seen it thousands of times before. That was a quiet night, in stark contrast to the following night, when an angel would appear with "the glory of the Lord," announcing the birth of the child--then join with a great company of heavenly beings proclaiming glory and peace.
On the night before Christmas, in the year 1968, three men looked into the night sky also, but from an entirely different perspective. Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and William Anders, the crew of Apollo 8, were further away from the earth than any human had ever been. It was the first time a spacecraft had broken earth's orbit and ventured out one quarter of a million miles to orbit the moon. In an historic broadcast on that Christmas Eve, the astronauts beamed back to earth a video picture of a small blue disk, the earth, and spoke of the "vast loneliness" of space.
Then, their voices crackled over the radio: "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void; and darkness was over the face of the deep."
There, on that small blue circle, the entire drama of human history has unfolded: the Creation, the Fall, war, exploration, feast and famine, marriage and divorce, birth and death. And to that blue circle God came, at just the right time, to begin to make things right in the human race. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, Christmas Eve is a time when we approach that dividing line in human history, the doorway from BC to AD, the revolution begun by the Son of God's entry into the world. Sometimes you know when you're on the eve of something big (your wedding, moving to a new home, adopting a child), and sometimes you don't. Every Christmas Eve we know we are about to mark the moment when Immanuel came.
So on the night before Christmas, find a quiet moment when you can think about what was about to happen in Bethlehem so many years ago. Think about all the ways you need someone to be your savior--someone who has the strength, the wisdom, the virtue, that you know you cannot come up with on your own.
Prayer for today: God, thank you that, with millions of other people around the world, I can anticipate and celebrate the moment when you joined yourself to the human race to offer us our only hope for salvation.
Source: The Brook Network | Elmbrook Church
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