Thursday, December 15, 2011

Being in the Christmas Story

Last night I attended The Story concert. (A brief background if you haven't heard of The Story yet. Max Lucado and Randy Fraize wrote a book. Nicole Nordeman wrote songs for the bible characters highlighted. And many amazing artists lent their voice to each song. I highly recommend this CD. It's one of my favorites of the whole year.)

So then.... last night I was sitting there, transported to another world by the music and multimedia artistry, watching the greatest story unfold once again before me.

My heart found rest in the simplicity amidst the enormity of the story.

Isn't Christmas really that simple. God loved. God sent. God saved. Did we think we could make it better by complicating it?

A few years ago I attended a Christmas Eve service. Typically, these end with a room full of beautiful candlelight and the softly sung Silent Night. It's a skin-tingling, heart filling experience each and every time and one of my favorite things about church at Christmas. But this particular service ended differently. The stage was set with the stable and empty manger. The songs were sung and the message of our gifts had been delivered. The moment came when the Savior, baby yet king, was placed in the manger.

While over 2000 years ago it was smelly shepherds and the wealthy wise who came, aren't we who still seek Him, also wandering shepherds and star gazing dreamers?

Then, just as they were that night and ever since, the invitation came to come to the place where He lay and kneel before him to lay our gifts at His feet. We are invited right into the Christmas story. I slowly walked up to the stage and found myself there on my knees, tears of joy filling my eyes. There was nothing special about the church or the props - but Jesus is special. Stripping away everything except worshiping Him is the peace and joy of Christmas. Feel the weightless wonder of that moment entering history. The rest gets left behind.

Leave the complicated. Leave even the candles and the carols. Come see the baby lying in a manger.

 You are a part of the story.
It is that simple.

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