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Precious Hours in His Presence

It's Christmas night.

The midnight hour has chimed and I should be asleep, but I'm awake. I'm
kept awake by one stunning thought. The world was different this week.
It was temporarily transformed.

The magical dust of Christmas glittered on the cheeks of humanity ever
so briefly, reminding us of what is worth having and what we were
intended to be. We forgot our compulsion with winning, wooing, and
warring. We put away our ladders and ledgers, we hung up our stopwatches
and weapons. We stepped off our race tracks and roller coasters and
looked outward toward the star of Bethlehem. It's the season to be jolly
because, more than at any other time, we think of him. More than in any
other season, his name is on our lips.

And the result? For a few precious hours our heavenly yearnings
intermesh and we become a chorus. A ragtag chorus of longshoremen,
Boston lawyers, illegal immigrants, housewives, and a thousand other
peculiar persons who are banking that Bethlehem's mystery is in reality,
a reality. "Come and behold him" we sing, stirring even the sleepiest of
shepherds and pointing them toward the Christ-child.

For a few precious hours, he is beheld. Christ the Lord. Those who pass
the year without seeing him, suddenly see him. People who have been
accustomed to using his name in vain, pause to use it in praise. Eyes,
now free of the blinders of self, marvel at his majesty.

All of a sudden he's everywhere.

In a few hours the cleanup will begin-lights will come down, trees will
be thrown out. Size 36 will be exchanged for size 40, eggnog will be on
sale for half price. Soon life will be normal again. December's
generosity will become January's payments and the magic will begin to
fade. But for the moment, the magic is still in the air. Maybe that's
why I'm still awake.

I want to savor the spirit just a bit more. I want to pray that those who beheld him today will look for him next August. And I can't help but linger on one fanciful thought: If he can do so much with such timid prayers lamely offered in December, how much more could he do if we thought of him every day?

From A Gentle Thunder
Copyright 1995 Max Lucado



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