Megan Miklosovic (Ann Arbor, MI)

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"Another year, another crazy Christmas Eve service. Standing room only crowds meant my family was squished in like sardines even after getting there early. I felt discouraged and bothered by the distracting physical circumstances on this holiest day.

But as I was reflecting on it, it occurred to me that that's how it was in Bethlehem that night that the Christ Child was born. Bethlehem was hopping. There was no place to stay. Houses, inns, the streets, etc were overflowing because so many had flocked into town for the census. Joseph couldn't find a private place for Mary to labor and deliver Jesus and eventually they ended up in a stable, with animals.(Can you imagine giving birth to your baby with animals around you? The smells?...) If it was so crowded for them, why do I expect any different?

 Maybe I need to be grateful for that one night a year that the churches are full to overflowing. Because it shows that all these people are acknowledging the true reason we celebrate Christmas. And maybe, I need to be a bit more open to inviting those people to come every Sunday...

 So as I celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Savior, who was the great King and God, who humbled himself so much that he came as an infant and was born in a smelly dirty stable surrounded by animals, I want to remember what’s important - not the noise, the smells, the crowd, but the gift He gives us in himself. Merry Christmas!"