Christmas Eve is the night of “not yet.” We are almost there and at the same time we are here. Not yet. Christmas Eve is the night of so many stories. For our whole lives many of us have heard that the inn had no room. We have heard that the shepherds and the angels gathered, whispered to themselves and to those close by about what was happening. We've been told that there was singing in anticipation. All those sounds and expressions of the night with weary journeyers, a lonely and deserted stable, and in the end an empty manger. Not yet.
So much of grief is held in anticipation- seeing beyond what is here and what is now. So much of grief is ‘not yet.' Not yet feeling re-connected. Not yet feeling recovered. Not yet to a place to rejoice.
O come, thou Wisdom from on high,
who orderest all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.
Rejoice, rejoice Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel.
All this season we’ve been seeking wisdom, following the path before us, waiting and watching for lessons along the way. Tonight, here as we enter Bethlehem we are hoping for what we know is surely coming. We are hoping for promises answered. We are hoping for angels to tell us to fear no more, for a star to guide us these last steps. We are hoping. And we are waiting.
Tonight is the night of song and story coming together. Leading us. Holding us. Calming us. Reminding us of the coming at last of God’s promise. Even in the midst of our grief, Emmanuel companions us. Especially here on this Eve of Christmas we are receiving God’s everlasting promise. Be not afraid. We are not alone, God is with us.
(thanks to friend, Mary Jean for this beautiful picture)
Working in Family Experience at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Lesley is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. She and her partner, Linda Ellis are raising their two sons, Brogan (now a freshman at Guilford College) and Sam at sophomore at DHS in Decatur, GA.