Blog Space of Rev. Adrian J. Pratt B.D, pastor at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church, Ellicott City, MD

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

CHRISTMAS DAY – Luke 2: 1-7

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria.  And all went to be enrolled, each to his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,  to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.  And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

As we finally arrive ‘Around the Manger’ I wish you and yours the blessing of God. Our journey has led us to the stable in Bethlehem and we celebrate the birth of the Savior. This passage from Luke is maybe the most familiar of them all. Do not allow its familiarity to detract from its wonder.

Some years ago I worked as a part-time chaplain in one of Europe’s largest Children’s hospitals -  Alder Hey in Liverpool. In so many ways Christmas was a special time. The wonderful staff and supporters at the hospital put in endless time and thought trying to make the season special for those who were patients ... particularly because, in the case of some of those most seriously ill, there would not be many Christmas’s that their short lives would celebrate. The following poem was my Christmas contribution to the hospital newsletter and marks the conclusion of this series of meditations.

SOMETHING ABOUT A CHILD

It’s got something to do with a baby hasn’t it?
And some shepherds and angels and Mary and a star.
Not to mention the Wise Men.

Or is it something about presents and Xmas Trees,
Snow, sledges, turkey, Santa Claus and Walt Disney?

Or is it little more than an excuse,
For over indulgent alcohol consumption and a day off work,
For the shops to make considerable profit?

Or is it time for people to forget themselves
And think about others?

One Christmas morning
I looked into the eyes of a child
As they unwrapped the gifts left by Santa.

I felt tears forming in my eyes.

Because no matter how much I analyzed Christmas
There was something about the joy in those eyes
That could never be cradled with words.

Jesus,
When He grew up,
Was once heard to say;
“I assure you that whoever does not receive
The Kingdom of God like a child
Will never enter it”

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