The magic of Christmas is not always found in trying to catch a glimpse of reindeer flying or Santa coming to our house on Christmas Eve. It cannot always be found in the twinkling of lights, the garland on our trees or even in the presents that we give. It is not going to happen if God decides to open wide the heavens and give us the gift of a front row seat at a concert of heavenly angels.

No, the magic of Christmas is found in other, very ordinary places and often in places we don’t think to look. It is discovered when we forgive someone who has hurt us so badly and even betrayed our trust; leaving a scar so deep that we wonder if we can ever trust again. It is found in vulnerable, tender hearts yearning for love; longing to be embraced and accepted; without judgment or fear. It is found in mending hurting and sensitive wounds, those kinds that life can all too readily bring and embarking upon new beginnings. It is found in watching the birth of an infant and in being with someone we love when they die.

It is discovered, sometimes with a twinkle of surprise, when our losses…even those so deep….begin to heal. It unfolds when we finally find the confidence to journey on into the future without fear and without all that crippling anxiety we so often bring to life. It is revealed when we finally risk; doing something totally different and out of character…..being spontaneous and free, without worry about what someone will think or believe! It blossoms when we respond to one another’s sufferings and rally to assist and lend a hand in even the most horrendous and tragic of circumstances. It is found when we persevere against all odds knowing that one day, in God’s time, we will find peace again. It is revealed when we smile; even if only briefly at someone we meet along the way.

If we really look and really listen we see that the magic of Christmas is found in the very ordinariness and simplicity of love and life…… just as that very simple and ordinary Christmas star shone bright on a cold weary silent night many years ago. It came when people were sleeping, doing their ordinary things and without the notice of many. It came in silence. God came in silence.

God lifted up and blessed humanity that very first Christmas and continues to lift us up and bless us today. Be present, today, to this blessing. Be present to those around you in church and with whom you will gather for dinner. Put on the mind of Christ. Listen, with compassionate ears to their story and listen to your own. These are stories that speak and tell of a desire for joy, a yearning for hope and a longing to embrace Love. Each story is unique and each is comprised of successes and losses, graces and sins, strengths and even a good measure of weakness. Do not judge them. Love them. They are beautiful.

The magic of Christmas is before us each day. All we need do is be present to its wonder as it unfolds before, around and within us. Be present. Be silent. Listen to the whisper of God’s voice calling out through the brokenness of our world and our own…..and even when it is as dark as dark can be and as hectic and frenzied as life can become….the voice, His voice, whispers, gently, deep within……all is calm, all is bright. I love you. I bless you. I save you. I am with you. It is Christmas.