I believe you will hear something unexpected. You will hear about something unexpected in the birth of this child and in your life. You will hear about an event that changed everything for everyone who has encountered it. You will be reminded, as the children put their stars on the tree, that every child is a precious gift—and that you, too, are one of those stars in the sight of God.
Perhaps the greatest gift our children will give us this Sunday is the gift of time—time given and spent in attention to one another, concentrating on what is precious, worth our loving, and worth our whole lives. This gift is the best gift you can give anyone this Christmas season, to be spent telling and listening to stories, setting aside differences and enjoying laughter and good company. May this Sunday be the beginning of a Christmas season of love and delight for us all.
If you were to read this week’s lessons from scripture, you would find: Isaiah’s prophecy that God would send a sign to the house of David in the young woman who would bear a son she would name Immanuel; Paul’s confirmation to the Church in Rome that Jesus Christ was this prophesied son; and, Matthew’s recounting of the appearance of an angel in a dream to Joseph, telling him that the child in Mary’s womb is that prophesied Emmanuel, “God with us.”
The angel’s message to Joseph changed all his plans. He did marry Mary, and he named the child Jesus, as the angel had instructed. But those changes in plan were only the beginning! God is always about changing our plans, even though we resist change at every turn. Accept God’s life-changing gifts this Christmas, thankfully and joyfully.