O Holy Night,
There is a bit of a legend in our family about a Christmas Eve and Jake. Although I don’t remember the exact year, we were living in the first house we owned in Houston, north of the airport and I had been graced with all three sons by that time. That makes Jake no older than 7 or 8 for this particular Christmas Eve. My mother, and if memory serves me right, my brother and his wife, were visiting our home for the holidays, and we had sat down to Christmas Eve dinner in the little home, all the family assembled. Back then we said Grace all the time at the dinner table, and I honestly don’t remember if Jake asked to say Grace or we were just reminiscing about the coming day, but Jake, not as quiet and shy as he would become as he got older, took the floor to speak. This part I remember distinctly. As we all sat around the table, not quite knowing what to expect, Jake, small for his age and with fly away blonde, straight hair, began:
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.”
I don’t know how or why Jake could recite the entire Christmas Story. I remembered half way through it, wondering if he would possible remember the whole story. Maybe he had watched the snoopy special enough times, maybe it was just the robustness of young memory, maybe he heard it at church, but one thing I am for certain. God took the truth and good news of that Holy Night, and forever etched it in Jake’s heart. I can remember Jake’s voice, the child’s voice, full of powerful words. As Christmases passed in our family, we reminded Jake of that childish contribution. It was one of those moments that your heart rests in wonder and joy. Merry Christmas. It’s my prayer that this season God brings you a precious, shining, promising, moment of joy.