Time to turn off the cell phones. Time to put the pagers on stun. It’s even time to put a piece of duct tape on the face of your watch. It’s Christmas Eve and time is standing still for a moment.
It is the time, maybe the only time of the year, when here and now drift away and we fall under the spell of story-time.
Tonight we are both here, AND on a lonely hillside outside of Bethlehem.
Tonight, we are with each other, friends and family, returning students and relatives from far away, AND we are also with the Magi, on a journey and such a hard time for journey.
Tonight we listen to our choir, AND we listen to choirs of angels, a whole heavenly host of angels we have heard on high.
Tonight, like every night, is new, a never happening before moment in onrushing time, AND yet, we have been here before, done this before, told this story before, and heard it before.
There is way that the story we tell tonight is always happening: birth and death and taxes, weary travelers with no place to stay, babies born, sudden signs of grace and glory and surprising generosity.
The past and the present are closely woven tonight, and we sense the presence of our own eternal selves, our souls perhaps, with our everyday selves tonight.
And when, at this evening’s end, we pass a visible sign of grace, the light of a candle, from hand to hand, we will see, the radiance and beauty of one another, as seen through the eyes of a timeless love.
Come, it is Christmas Eve, let us worship together.