“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14).

What if on Christmas Eve people came and sat in the dim pews, and someone stood up and said, “Something happened here while we were all out at the malls, while we were baking cookies and fretting about whether we bought our brother-in-law the right gift: Christ was born. God is here!”? We wouldn’t need the glorious choruses and the harp and the bell choir and the organ. We would’ t need the tree strung with lights. We wouldn’t have to deny that painful dissonance between the promise and hope of Christmas and a world racked with sin and evil. There wouldn’t be that embarrassing conflict over the historical truth of the birth stories, and whether or not Mary was really a virgin. All that would seem gaudy and shallow in comparison to the sanctity of that still sanctuary. And we, hushed and awed by something greater and wiser and kinder than we, would kneel of one accord in the stillness. A peace would settle over the planet like a velvet coverlet over a sleeping child. The world would recollect itself and discover itself held in the womb of the mother of Jesus. We would be filled with all the fullness of God, even as we filled the emptiness of the Savior’s heart with ours. The intensity and strain that many of us bring to Christmas must suggest to some onlookers that, on the whole, Christians do not seem to have gotten the point of it. Probably few of us have the faith or the nerve to tamper with hallowed Christmas traditions on a large scale, or with our other holiday celebrations. But a small experiment might prove interesting. What if, instead of doing something, we were to be something special? Be a womb. Be a dwelling for God. Be surprised.

Adapted from “Watch for the Light”