she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and
placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to
one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has
happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
My grandfather Judson used to read that story to us every Christmas Eve from the huge and ancient family bible. My grandmother Marian would usually sit or stand by his side and nod along with the familiar words.
Our entire family (and many “adopted” friends) would assemble from across the country and beyond. We’d sing Christmas songs and hymns, have a wonderful meal, then read that account and spend time in prayer before opening gifts.
There was a wonderful solemnity to the occasion. You could feel the weight of eternity on your shoulders as my Grandfather’s solid and stern voice read the account from the archaic and powerful King James’ version of the scriptures. Then, as strong men and good women prayed together for the assembled family and those that couldn’t make it, for strength in the New Year and, most often, gave thanks for the many blessings we’d received, we kids felt a sense of belonging. We were a part of an ongoing generational legacy that looked above, rather than below. Whatever gifts we received, they were nothing compared to the raw power of spiritual community connected by love and blood and grace.
I miss my grandparents the most at this time of the year.
Enjoy the time you have with those you love – and blessings upon you and yours.
I’ll be back again on Thursday with a review of the book Teaming with Microbes… stay tuned… and…