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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Gentle Mary laid her child
lowly in a manger;
there he lay, the undefiled,
to the world a stranger.
Such a babe in such a place,
can he be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race
who have found his favor.

Angels sang about his birth;
wise men sought and found him;
heaven’s star shone brightly forth,
glory all around him.
Shepherds saw the wondrous sight,
heard the angels singing;
all the plains were lit that night;
all the hills were ringing.

Gentle Mary laid her child
lowly in a manger;
he is still the undefiled,
but no more a stranger.
Son of God, of humble birth,
beautiful the story;
praise his name in all the earth;
hail the King of glory!

Joseph Simpson Cook’s “Gentle Mary Laid Her Child”
(tune: Tempus Adest Floridum)
from Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

The Christmas season has always been a time for family in my house. My siblings and I are spread out in age, so we were rarely involved in similar activities. But Christmas brings out the child in us all, and we will bake cookies, decorate gingerbread houses, and judge Christmas lights. Christmas Eve, after the Christmas Eve service, our entire family piled into the car and would drive the long way home and look at the Christmas lights. We all became amateur judges, rating decorations and calling houses that chose not to participate “scrooges.” I remember the first house I ever saw that had Christmas lights set to music. I was at the age that musical lights were the coolest thing ever. But my older siblings never gave these houses high scores, preferring the simple, tasteful, subtle Christmas decorations.

So too was Jesus’ entrance into our world: simple, subtle, humble beginnings, lying in a manger. People would have expected trumpets, palaces, and paparazzi similar to those at the birth of Prince George in England. Jesus came as a man of the people, not bothering with fitting the expectations of the world: a preview of what was to come, a ministry that would defy expectations and rewrite our relationship to God.

Lord, I pray for the appreciation of simplicity of life. May I remember to question expectations and live a life with perspective, knowing that great things can come from the most unexpected places, just as Jesus was found in a manger. Amen.

Written by Katie Patterson, Junior High Youth and Mission Coordinator

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