Her blue-grey eyes looked intently into the green of mine. I had just asked her when my birthday was; a silly question, because she remembers the year and date of innumerable people's birthdays with effortlessness. It is a gift that amazes me.
"June 1st, 1950." she says, "You're 60 years old, I'm 54, that means you're 6 years older than me."
Numbers fascinate the friend I'm sitting beside for a few minutes at our Big Christmas Party at work--it is a facet of her Autism.
She leans in close and her eyes drill into mine as she asks, "How old is Jesus this year?"
Still focused on numbers, I give a ridiculous answer, "He's 2010 years old!" Silly me, of course that was so wrong. For all eternity, he was, and he will be--forever.
But for two thousand and ten years the Spirit of Christmas Present, as Charles Dickens wrote, has appeared, and the story of Jesus' birth has been told and retold in an unbroken chain of Christmases.
This morning our congregation watched with misty eyes, smothered laughter and the same age old wonder, as this year's crop of little ones dressed up as sheep, angels with topsy turvy tinsel halos, bath robed shepherds and wise men, acted out the familiar and precious scriptures, read by a child in a tutu, who looked like a charming blend of fairy and angel.
Within this story is the true Gift of Christmas; a gift so many have yet to unwrap, even those of us who may have heard the story often. This year may it be your year; may you receive the gift God longs to give.
Luke 4:18 (New Living Translation)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released,
that the blind will see,
that the oppressed will be set free,