Today on the blog, Connie Milching, our Director of Women’s Ministry and Prayer, shares some of her favorite Christmas traditions.
One thing I love about the Christmas season is a special memory from my childhood. Birth through elementary school took place in Elkins, West Virginia, population 8,307. To put that in perspective, Living Word’s weekly adult attendance is roughly one-fourth the town’s entire size.
Elkins was small, friendly, and familiar. When it came time for the Christmas Eve services, my mom, dad, two sisters, and I would pile into our gold Chevy Impala and drive 7 miles to town for the 11:00 pm service at First Baptist Church, which always ended promptly at midnight.
As the bell tower tolled twelve methodical rings, I would attentively and resolutely carry my lit candle into the night air, where invariably it was snowing. My dad would gently assist me in positioning it just right, so a snowflake could touch the tip and extinguish the flame. At the age of 4, 5, 6, and 7 this was truly magical! As if a kiss from heaven floated down to earth to intersect my tender life. Could God actually see me?
On Christmas morning dad would read the story of Jesus’ birth from Luke 2:1-20 before we could open any gifts or dive into the festivities. Although decades removed from the start of this tradition, my own family continues it to this day. And we would sing together, oh would we sing. All of us loved Christmas carols. I still do! To me, they seem to return each year like a treasured friend.
“Let every heart, prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and heaven and nature sing.”
It is a spectacular blending of the individual’s part (every heart), actively inviting Jesus in (prepare him room), while all of creation acknowledges what the Creator has done for us, the created (and heaven and nature sing). The repetition magnifies the majestic realization of the JOY of Jesus’ birth. He is here! And everyone, everywhere, everything, can engage in his birth.
As the holidays draw near, it is my heartfelt prayer that you will take time to “prepare him room” and receive Jesus anew as together we stand in awe and wonder of his miraculous birth.
Have a joyous holiday season!