Tonight will be the first Christmas Eve in seventeen years that I have not led a Christmas Eve service at my church . I am very blessed to have my son-in-law and his family hosting us this year, because they love the Lord Jesus Christ and took us all out to their Christmas Eve service at Desert Springs Community. Celebrating with the Mendez family, I am able to have my wife, my two daughters, my two granddaughters and all our Mendez family together all at once! And this year, that meant that instead of leading the service, I would be worshipping the birth of the Savior with my four-month old grandchild sleeping in my arms.
"Sleep in heavenly peace ..." "What child is this who, laid to rest on Mary's lap, is sleeping ..." "The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay..." How sweet and powerful it is to sing those lyrics and consider the fleshly reality of Immanuel with a baby warm and cooing in your arms!
I'm glad I broke the string. Seventeen years in a row is good enough. And Isabella Grace in my arms on Christmas Eve is better.
And then I read today's verses from Revelation 5 and I am blown away, because the seven-horned Lamb who is both slain and sovereign and worthy of the chant of a hundred million angels - "power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!” - this Lion, this Root, this Victor is the One wrapped in stable rags and staring up at Mary, like the daughter of my daughter gazing up at me!
My prayer for you this Christmas is this - along with the fun of family and the joy of tradition and the blessing of giving and receiving, may you encounter a moment in which the deep meaning of God in human flesh breaks through to your soul; a fresh moment of 'sore afraidness' and 'In Excelsis Deo.' But not with the sound of a thousand angels, but the sound of a single voice, your own voice, declaring with wonder and pure certainty from the center of your being - "It's true. It's true. It's true."