As you walk along, consider all the things you see, hear, smell, and touch.
First, what do you see?
*As you walk along the trail into Bethlehem, look out over the beautiful fertile hills. Here you’ll see Bethlehem nestled as a quiet little village.
*As darkness begins to swallow up the day, look around quickly. In the surrounding fields, shepherds pasture their flocks. Walk down the dusty streets to enter the little town. You will notice people rushing to find a place to stay; they’ve been summoned here to register for taxation.
*Glance up. The glorious heavens stretch out like a drape of black velvet, poked with holes for the stars to sparkle through like bazillions of twinkling lights, choreographed as a dance of angels with flashlights.
*One divinely-appointed star blazes unusually bright; its brilliance illuminates a lowly stable. Follow the star’s beam to the stable.
As you near the stable, stop to listen!
What do you hear?
*Heavenly songs of praise ascend above the fields, filling the night’s atmosphere with angelic voices.
Now, slowly approach the stable and stand in the entrance. What sounds emanate from within?
*The gentle lowing of the cattle. The bleating of the sheep. The braying of the donkeys.
*Suddenly, the cries of a newborn resonant above all the other sounds.
Step in a ways.
*Listen to the crunch of the straw beneath your feet. Hear the night-time creatures scurry away at your coming. Become aware of the owl hooting his warning of your presence.
What do you smell?
It’s a stable. You know there are odors here! You breathe in the smell of, well, you know.
Okay. What other fragrance is there?
*The aroma of freshly tossed hay.
Step further still into the stable.
*There’s one gentle, sweet smell…that of a newborn baby. The animals gather around to sniff at this strange little wonder now occupying their trough.
A young woman named Mary has just given birth to the Saviour of the world. Swaddling Him lovingly, she placed Him in the trough, and there, the miracle of the manger has taken place.
Join the animals. Lean over the manger.
*Breathe in that precious earthly yet divine scent of an infant.
So, what do you touch?
*Your knees gently lower and rest upon the hay beside the manger.
*You reach out to touch the little, pink fingers protruding from the depths of the manger.
What do you feel?
As you’ve walked the path to Bethlehem, seen the sights, listened to the sounds, smelled the aromas, and touched the treasures of this night, did it all take your breath away? What do you now feel?
Is your heart now so full that you think it will explode? Look around to make a memory of all you have experienced. Allow them to reside in your heart’s manger. Don’t ever let these images escape your grasp.
May your Christmas be filled with precious memories and a special touch of the Lord’s presence.