"It was like one of the nativity scenes that the old masters painted, only not tidy and pretty like those. The girl was exhausted, her clothes were crumpled, and the sweat on her face gleamed in the lantern light. The man was dusty and tired and not yet free of the anxiety that had been racking him for hours past.
The woman was one of those kindly bodies who turn up from somewhere to lend a hand in times of human crises. She made soft clucking noises as she gave the baby to His mother, and the two women gave each other a long look of triumph before the girl bent over her baby. He was like all newborn babies. He looked old and wizened, and so frail that my heart nearly stopped in fear, as it always does when I see a newborn child. How could anything so weak survive? His thin wail echoed in the stony place and then stifled as He sought His mother.
They've not yet come, I thought. All the prettiness the artists painted isn't here. No angels, no shepherds, no children with their lambs. It's stripped down to the bare bones of rock and the child. There's no one here. And then I thought, I am here, and I asked, who am I, Lord? And then I knew that I was everyone. I wasn't solitary. Everyone was me and I was everyone. We were all here, every sinner whose evil had built up those dark walls that held Him like a trap. For looking around I saw that the cave of the nativity was very small. The walls were pressing in upon Him close and hard and dark the way they pressed in on me. And the old claustrophobic terror was back on me again, but not for myself. I remembered the rocks of the wilderness and the multitude of sinners surging in, selfish and clamorous, sick and sweaty, clawing with their hot hands, giving Him no time so much as to eat. I remembered the mocking crowd at the cross and the thick darkness. I remembered the second cave, the dark and stifling tomb. Two stony caves, forming as it were the two clasps of the circle of His life on earth. And I remembered St. Augustine saying, "He looked us through the lattice of our flesh and He spake us fair." Shut up in that prison of aching flesh and torn nerves, trapped in it...The Lord of glory... I remembered the sword of light that had split the rock of sin, making for me the way of escape to where He was at the heart of it. At my heart. At the heart of everything that happened to me, everything I did, everything I endured. He was not the weakness that He seemed, for He had a sword in His hand and all evil at last would go reeling back before it. He had entered the prison house of His own will. And He was not trapped, nor was I. There was always the way of escape so long as it was to the heart of it, whatever it was, that one went to find Him.
The shepherds were coming. I could hear them singing, a homely rough singing and a little out of tune. And the high sweet piping of a shepherd's pipe. I shut my eyes and listened and it came nearer and I woke up."
from the book The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge
Anna had put this on her blog and after reading it, I knew that I had to also.
This is Christmas...the real Christmas. Thanks Anna!
May you embrace Him and all that He has done for you...may you experience "Christmas" in your heart now and everyday. Merry Christmas my friends...Merry Christmas!