The woman stands at the tall lobby window, staring out into the night, waiting. The car races down the darkened road. The crosswalk lights sway erratically in the black wind, casting shifting shadows onto the melting snow. People jostle strangers in the light-bright mall, un-noticing. The mother cooks in the kitchen. The father sits on the phone. The older kids wrap presents, each in their own room; while the younger kids jump and run, watching the clock, watching their gifts, watching the clock, eager for Santa Claus.
Into this lonely night’s sky, a distant star grows, its rays pointing to a soft, silent light that never dies, never blows out, never expires.
The word made flesh.
That light shines and reaches out into the dark, to anyone, to everyone, asking them to reach back to him. The woman standing alone in the artificial light, waiting for her ride, keeps her hands firmly in her pockets. The driver pushing on the accelerator with his impatient foot keeps hands on wheel. The people struggling with bags and coats and money have their hands full. The mother stirring the soup reaches with her free hand for the salt. The father gripping the telephone receiver uses his free hand to write notes on his conversation. The older kids wrapping never still their hands as they fold, crease, tape, cut, curl ribbon. The younger kids flying back and forth through the house, caught up in their desires, flap their hands eagerly, almost touching that soft light they barely sense.
But Jesus waits. Always there, his soft light reaches out to anyone, to everyone, even the lonely who affear to take hands out of comfortable pockets, to separate arm from safe side and reach back to accept that light.