by Robert Dawson

Night of Providence
Robert Dawson
Luke 2:8-20

A pastor hosted the annual staff Christmas luncheon at his home.

- Wonderful time - exchanging ''White Elephant gifts'' - Laughing
- After about the 10th present the laughter stopped - pulled baby Jesus out of the gift bag - why was baby Jesus part of a ''White Elephant'' gift?
- Pastor's wife stunned and confused - looked like the one to their nativity set.
- Went to living room and baby Jesus missing - accidently knocked in the bag
- Everyone had a good laugh and returned Jesus to the central place in nativity scene.

The more I thought about it, though, this little incident was quite telling. So often Jesus is swept off center stage during our holiday festivities - How sad, when he is so central!

It is amazing how easily Jesus can be overlooked in our Holiday celebration. It was true that first Christmas night as well.

- To everyone else in the world, not named Mary and Joseph, it was a night like any other. It was business as usual. There was nothing spectacular about that night.
- It was a rather inauspicious and ignoble beginning for this Son sent from heaven as a baby- one who was Immanuel, God with us.
- He was not born in a clean comfortable bed in the comfort of the family's home.
- There was no crib waiting for him.
- No adoring grandparents pacing the floor in and adjacent room itching to get their fingers on the newest member of the family.
- It was just Mary and Joseph, two young Jewish peasants, starting their family, having their first baby in a barn. An unremarkable beginning.

One would think that with all the build-up in the story to this point, with an angel appearing to Mary and Joseph and the grand announcements as to the identity of this child, we would have expected more than a birth in a barn.

While Jesus' birth was not quite ordinary and far from extraordinary and God was not going to allow the birth of His Son to go unannounced. The night would not pass ...

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