A Christmas Eve Reflection


Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published on Dec. 24, 2019


In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.

God, we are weary.

All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.

We have traveled for many miles, and we still aren’t home.

He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.

Your timing is not our timing, Lord; and so often, we wonder where you are.

And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

But You came.

In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

You came to the ones thought to be the lowest of the low, to the riffraff of society. You came to us.

Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

You came with the obscurity of a baby born on a crowded night, and the clash and clamor of angels.

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”

You told us not to be afraid. You gave us a sign.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”

And all of creation joined in your welcoming song.

Be with us, God. We are waiting for you. We are waiting for you to break through like you promised, to right the wrongs and lead us home. We know you will come, as you came before.

We are waiting for you, God. We are waiting for you to come again.

Elrena Evans is holds an MFA in creative writing from Penn State, and has also worked for Christianity Today and American Bible Society. She is the author of Special Grace: Prayers and Reflections for Families with Special Needs and a children’s book, When I Go to Church, I Belong: Finding My Place in God’s Family as a Child with Special Needs. She also has authored a short story collection, This Crowded Night, and is the co-author of the essay collection Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life. She enjoys spending time with her family, dancing, and making spreadsheets.

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