Monday, December 25, 2006

If You Knew the Gift...

John 4:10 (New International Version)

10Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water."

It's Christmas morning, very early, and all the world is waiting.

Yesterday, Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday, we were at church in the morning and the evening. There was a great sense of togetherness in anticipation of something special.

For the adults there was anticipation of being together in celebration and worship, as well as anticipation of the personal traditions and rituals some of us engage in. I found my mind wandering for a moment during the morning service and thinking of life as a string of Christmases like beads on a rosary.

The children of course were anticipating something more concrete. One of our God-daughters, Eden-Belle, gave us a small present, a treasure taken from her own store of belongings and wrapped up for us in purple foil paper, covered liberally in scotch tape. She couldn't wait to give it to us, but she said we were not to open it until that night at her house, where it is one of our traditions to go on Christmas Eve.The delayed gratification of Christmas seems out of sync with the instant gratifation that is the norm in our culture.

And now it is Christmas morning and there is a hushed sense of waiting. In a few short hours there will be waking and excitement and the waiting will be over--for another year.

Israel was waiting on that first Christmas night, but they weren't waiting for a baby in a manger--they were waiting then--as they are waiting still--for a Messiah to come in power, not humility. So many didn't recognize him when he came, but there were some who did--shepherds and wise men from the east, a devout man named Simeon, and the 84 year old prophet Anna, in the temple where Jesus' parents took him at eight days old (Luke 2).

Jesus' words to the Samaritan woman at the well, recorded in John 4 are on my heart this morning: "If you knew the gift of God..."

May hearts and souls be open to see and receive "the gift of God" this Christmas.

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