Softly now. Softly. Walk with care; handle the stuff of life with gentle hands.
Settle slowly into your chair and seek the stillness. The child has come and your heart is warmed now that you see him.
Softly now. Softly he comes. Handle the stuff of eternity with the gentlest of hands.next >
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 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.” 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!”
Luke 2:8-14next >
After being made fun of by the other kids for choosing a little tree (among the enormously colorful and over-priced ones) for the Christmas pageant, a frustrated Charlie Brown asks about the meaning of the season. His best friend, Linus, quietly responds: “Sure...I can tell you.” And then Linus walks to center stage and recites from memory the passage from Luke’s Gospel.
Afterwards, Charlie Brown takes the tree home to decorate, but his attempts prove disastrous. Linus and the Peanuts gang soon arrive to help. Linus remarks: “It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.” Using ornaments from Snoopy’s doghouse, they decorate the tree, transforming it into a thing of beauty.
Christmas is about receiving the heavenly news that each one of us is loved by God and called to show that love to others. Even if you're a blockhead like Charlie Brown.
Andy Actonnext >
God, use me to bring tidings of great joy and the love of Christ to all people, in both word and deed. Amen.next >
Eternity has whispered your name
And so you have waited,
Waited with great anticipation
While preparing yourself for the coming of God's great gift.
Now the gift is here.
Waiting is over.
The anticipated arrival has come to pass
And your preparation is accomplished.
Go now in the blessed peace of Immanuel. God is with us!
Andy Acton is the associate pastor for youth and mission and outreach at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church in Duluth, Georgia. Andy lives with his wife Elizabeth, their 5-year-old daughter Katie, their newborn son Davis, his mother-in-law, two Labradors, and a cat.