Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh Holy Night, Indeed!

As a family we have started a new tradition in our home. On the first week of each December a stake in a nearby city puts on a live Nativity for all to come and see. It is spectacular.

As the night falls, you come upon the Prophet Isaiah writing on scrolls. His prophesies of the Savior who will come unto the world is foretold as well as the Savior‘s mission on the earth is read to all who will listen to the Prophet of old.. As you listen to his visions and prophesies, soon you hear the scriptural account of the days leading up to the Christ child’s birth. Waiting in line, it is a powerful reminder of all that has come to pass and all the promises that will be fulfilled. What a wonderful reminder of what that means to each of us in our lives.

Then as you walk along, you see the Shepherds out in the field (with their live sheep around them) watching their flock by night who first see the star and the wise men walking toward the star shining in the sky. Was it just me or was there one particular star shining extra bright for us that clear cold Monday night????

There were cattle, goats, and even a large (live!) camel was there to greet us as we all walked towards Bethlehem. Many people walked among us in robes suited for that era. Children walked with parents, elderly walked with their staffs in tow. We felt we had gone back in time. All around us sounds could be heard of people walking toward Bethlehem -- to the land of their inheritance.

Once we arrived in Bethlehem, we were met by a soldier who expected us to pay our taxes, and a man who--off to the side stood weighing in coins of every shape and size---which were the taxes paid--- before we were to enter.

Once were allowed entrance into Bethlehem, there were peddlers trying to sell and barter their trade. Women were weaving baskets and grinding wheat stalks into grain. Men carved from logs with tools while others sold vegetables and fruit from crates and stalls. Even a leper was shunned from public begging for a morsel from any merciful passerby.

We continued to walk through the “dirt road” of Bethlehem and saw women gathering water at a well with a rooster perched on top watching us with his steady gaze and even came upon an Inn keeper sending everyone away for there was no room at the Inn.. So much to see, and even more to learn yet no one spoke to us, but rather let us take it all in by observing what was happening at that time. No one spoke a word. No one needed to. The only words spoken were that of the Inn Keeper. It was enough, for then in the darkened city, around the corner not too far from a stall of a donkey, a light shone ever so clear. It was then we heard the sweetest sound we could have heard.

A newborn baby started to cry.

We came upon the only quiet, warm, corner of the barn within that small town of Bethlehem. The parents of the baby Jesus were kneeling beside the newborn baby trying to comfort him. It was an incredible sight to see a real newborn baby wrapped up in soft blankets in the barn on that freezing cold snowy night. It took our breath away.

As we left the barn, a woman dressed in robes whispered to us ever so softly, “Merry Christmas,” She had tears in her eyes and so did we.

As we got into our car to leave, the song, “Oh Holy Night” was playing on the radio. What a beautiful ending to our beautiful night.

Of course there are so many reasons I love Christmas, but is it any wonder that seeing and hearing the story of the birth of our Savior brings with it a renewed sense of hope and love to all the world?

That night, being a spectator of the Nativity that way, brought a new vision and meaning of the Christmas story for me. I hope and pray that I will not lose the feelings I had in my heart as I witnessed the scene before me.

It was a witness to me of the accounts that happened so very long ago. It was an experience that testified ever so strongly of the miracles and blessings that would come because of the humble beginnings of that wondrous night so long ago, because of that sweet baby that laid quietly crying in a manger.

Indeed, what a Holy Night it was.

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