Sunday, December 24, 2006

Twas the Night Before Christmas

“Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;…”

The house is quiet now. The family has retired to bed. I sat in the living room and watched the Christmas tree with its twinkling light. I always find the twinkling lights mesmerising. The days of making up a list of people to buy Christmas presents for; the different gifts for different people and the anxiety of wondering whether they will like their gifts; the mad struggle with other shoppers in the shopping malls (in Singapore, you will kill for a parking space!); the wrapping of the gifts and there they are now: snug under the twinkling Christmas tree until tomorrow. Tomorrow, gifts will be exchanged and exclaimed over.

Thoughts of Christmas being commercialised have crossed my mind a few times during the weeks. Yes, it is commercialised with the winter release of new products, the advertisements, the sales and the Santa Claus. However, behind the gifts lies a question. Why do we buy and give gifts? For some of us is an obligation. For others it is an act of love. Who can forget the joy on the face of a child when she unwrapped a Christmas present and find the gift she has been praying for all year. Giving is an act of love.

For many decades, the Jewish people had been waiting for a Messiah; Someone who not only will lead them to God but also bring all the nations under this same God. There had been this strong desire for the presence of God to be with all people for all times. Christmas is a reminder that this desire for many of us had been fulfilled.

In the appropriate time, God did come to us. What surprised us is that he chose to come in the form of a helpless human baby. Many of the Christmas sermons stopped at that; God loved us so that the only way He can save us is to come as a human baby. This evening as I was watching the twinkling lights on my Christmas tree, I began to feel the presence of the Lord. I knew He love me and it is good to be reminded of His love. What shocked me was my new awareness of how great is His love for us.

I believe Amy Carmichael had this awareness when she wrote, “As my thoughts were thus occupied, I found myself on the shore of the sea. And I took a grain of sand from the miles of sand about me and I held it in my hand. Then I knew that my desire for the presence of the Lord was like a little grain for smallness in comparison with my Lord’s desire to come under my roof; for what was like the measure of the measureless sands. And my thoughts followed this great thought, Jesus answered and said to me, ‘With desire I have desired to come to you.’”

Such GREAT love! I can only concur with the psalmist, “May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” (Ps 33:23)

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