Imagine if you will, Christmas day more than 2000 years ago in the town of Bethlehem. Jesus is born. Do you feel the crisp morning air? Do you smell the animals and the hay? Listen. Do you hear the newborn crying? Can you see Mary, seated on the floor of the stable, holding her tiny son? Can you see her rock back and forth to comfort her babe?
Thirty years later, behold a dry and barren land. The voice of John the Baptist cries out in the wilderness. “Make straight the way for the Lord,” he calls to any who will listen. Now that the crying baby is grown, his cousin John cries for the repentance of his people.
Three years later the mother of Jesus cries. She weeps at the foot of a rugged Roman cross. High above is the broken body of her baby boy. The once tiny babe is grown and men have nailed him on a cross. She cries for her son as he suffers and dies.
In just a few days, everything changes. Now those bitter tears, those agonizing cries have turned to miraculous cries of joy. The son who was crucified on a cross is no longer in the tomb. He is alive!
As you contemplate these cries, think about your preparations for Christmas. Did you spend many exhausting hours shopping, wrapping, cooking, cleaning, and baking? Did you cry in anger, frustration, or fatigue?
Through your tears, remember, the babe who cried in the manger is the Lord who died on the cross. He is the same Lord who was resurrected and is alive. He is the same Lord who washes away our sins so that we, too, may become blameless and live forever in heaven.
Once again, we hear crying, the crying of our hearts. We cry, remembering our sins. We cry in repentance, preparing our hearts for His coming in our lives. We cry in grief, remembering His sacrifice. We cry in joy, recognizing His resurrected life in us and anticipating eternity with Him. We cry tears of delight, for we realize that even though all the preparations are not yet finished, we are, finally, ready for Christmas.
May we never overlook the reason for the celebration. In all the busyness and scurrying, let us take time to reflect on the miracle of our Lord’s birth. Let us cry tears of repentance and gratefulness, remembering our greatest Christmas gift. We have worked so hard to prepare for Christmas. May we work just as hard to prepare for His birth and life in our hearts. May this precious life within us cry out joyfully for all to hear.
Psalm 34:15 “The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.”