2, 85; 110:1-5(6-7), 132
Micah 4:1-5, 5:2-4 1 John 4:7-16 John 3:31-36
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
The tradition in our family is that on your birthday, your parents tell the story of your birth. My mother tells mine, and I tell our children’s. Which city we lived in, what the weather was, how long the wait had been. How we knew you were coming, the arrangements we made, the surprises we had, the visitors who came first. I’m grateful for that the gospel of Luke’s tells Jesus’ birth story, and the church gives us one particular day, in deepest, darkest December, to hear it, remember, and relive it. The young couple arriving in a strange city to obey Caesar’s decree. Finding shelter in a makeshift manger in the nick of time. Shepherds abiding in the field, summoned by an angel to visit the baby. Mary keeping and pondering these things in her heart.
Year by year as we tell our children’s birth stories, the meaning of the details expands and flourishes as their life unfolds. As we know Jesus through scripture and experience every particular detail his birth story has deeper resonance: the humble, temporary place, his father and mother away from home, the scruffy visitors. And Mary’s pondering into which we are drawn.
Holy and Loving God, as we hear the birth story of Jesus, may we linger here in gratitude. Amen.
Listen to Cynthia read her meditation and prayer here: