I’m feeling sentimental as usual for this time of year, and remembering when I was blessed to serve as Preschool & Children’s Minister at Oaklawn Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, NC from 1995 to 2003. For those 8 years, I learned much – including how to really serve, love, and lead a team. The children, who included my own, were dubbed the Little Oaks. There were a few tears from time to time, but much laughter and joy there. Christmas was always special mostly due to our Director of Music, Dan Suttles, who’s gifted, perfectionistic ideas brought about incredible musical dramas that surprised the hearts of everyone in attendance.
One year, a little song came and surprised me which I called ‘The Manger Song’ and so I sang it for the Little Oaks Children’s Lesson in December 1999. I thought I’d share it with you this Christmas. It’s a lullaby for that Baby and all our little ones.
~The baby, the stable, the first Christmas morn
Saw Mary and Joseph, the King had been born!
Shepherds and sheep come to worship Him,
And angels sang over Bethlehem.
~A cow lows, a babe cries and breaks the night.
Above all a bright star shines its light.
And God smiles to see Jesus lying there,
The promised Messiah, God’s love to share.
~A family, a manger filled with hay,
A baby in soft cloths was gently laid.
May your heart be open this Christmas morn,
And be like a manger where Jesus is born.
Just as in the beginning, God’s light broke into our darkness, our wounded world, our helpless mess, and came to make a way out. This Light shines His love-light into our broken hearts, minds, and bodies. “The Light of the world is Jesus!”, goes the old hymn, and it’s true! That’s Christmas – that the Light came and shone into our darkness, folding Himself into the skin of a baby to come to us. He knows vulnerability, what it’s like to walk this earth. The Unbroken came for the broken and offers His own hand. Christianity is the only faith where the God worshiped comes for us, where the tomb is empty, and the invitation to take His hand is always there.
And this Light? Nothing stops it, for light goes everywhere it can. And every time we let in more Light, we are more healed. So accept this little blog as an invitation to allow that Light to enter your life, soft and warm, heart-changing, and filled with all the acceptance, grace, strength, and peace you will ever need.
For God so loved this messy old world and all the broken people in it, that He sent His only Son, Jesus, that whoever believes in Him will never perish, but will have everlasting, unending life with Him. He did not come to point His finger and condemn us, but to put in place His own rescue mission so we can be called the children of God.
Merry Christmas, friends. Christmas Light to you!
From the desk by the window near the Nativity, where I imagine I can hear Mary’s soft voice singing thanks to God.
*This is my Nativity of collected pieces that my daughters, Rebecca and Rachel, and I assembled over several years. It’s the first thing out of the box every Christmas, and the last thing to be put away at New Years. I’ve placed a cross in the background that was hand-made for me by my friend, John Mitchell of Scotland. For even in that birthing moment, the Father knew what it would cost to redeem all of us. And He says you and I were worth it. Happy Christ-mas, all!
(c) Robin L. Lewis, Sozo Life & Leadership, LLC, December 15, 2015