And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8
Christmas has a way of sneaking up on me. I look up and it’s November already, and I wonder where the year went. It wasn’t always this way. When I was a kid, the Sears Catalog would arrive in late September, and I would pore through the glossy pages, circling all the things I wanted. Before the week was out, my Christmas list was complete—conveniently posted on the refrigerator for mom and dad to see.
It’s different now. Christmas decorations appear in the stores the week after Halloween, and many stores are open on Thanksgiving with special holiday deals. Everywhere there are signs; it’s impossible to miss. And yet often, even as we’re decorating our tree or shopping for family, it’s lost on me. Something’s amiss; it’s like my spirit hasn’t caught up with the commercials.
That’s why I love our late night Christmas Eve service. It’s one last chance for my soul to get in synch with the season. The candlelight, the story, the hymns—all so familiar and inviting. So un-manger-like. Maybe that’s why I like the bells. Walking back to my car in the nose-tingling cold, collar raised against the wind—it’s the peal of the bells, ringing in his birth that startles my spirit awake. A divine cacophony that splits the night and rouses me like those shepherds so long ago.
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 among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:13-14
About the Contributor
Jason is the Director of Youth Ministry at FPC. Before coming here he spent nine years as an active duty Marine. He and his wife, Melanie, have two children—Clara and Benjamin. Jason enjoys reading, writing, and running really, really far.