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Be Near Me Lord Jesus

A busy Christmas Eve is complete. Bundling up with the kids for skating on the pond, a lovely candlelight service at church, a delightful evening full of games and goodies with family, friends, the kids safely tucked into bed, the last presents put under the tree… And now, all is silent as I sit beside the Christmas tree, staring out into the bone chilling early morning darkness, processing a full day indeed.

One image will stand out to me from Christmas Eve 2012. The scene: a worship service filled delightful music, thoughtful readings and classic Christmas carols…. A beautifully decorated sanctuary with candles and nativity scenes and banners… a full church… Everything is proper and polished. And then, as we begin to sing “Away in a Manger,” one of our regular attenders from Lethbridge’s L’Arche community gets up with the hugest smile on her face and begins to dance. She holds hands with those who have come with her. They go in a slow circle. There are smiles all around. She is beaming and she is dancing… It’s Christmas, and a little baby has been born! His name is Christ the Lord!

A baby! Imagine…

Before the lights go out tonight, I read these words from the Christmas Eve prayers in my prayer-book:

God of prophetic promise,
your radiance penetrates our wintry night.
Come to us in tender compassion,
that we too may walk the path of peace
in holiness and without fear.
We pray in the name of the One
whose birth a Heavenly Host heralded…

… and the one whose birth makes us laugh and smile and dance like little children who are excited about the little Lord Jesus, no crib for a bed, asleep on the hay.

Be near me Lord Jesus—be near all of us. We ask thee to stay.

The happiest of Christmases to all.

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