Often we head into the city, but this time we stayed rather local. We had a houseful coming for dinner the next day, so my anxiety level was rising.
I looked forward to a quiet night in the hotel without little people noises and an early morning wake up. We soon found out that was not going to happen.
In the room next to ours, a young family was also staying for the night. One of their littles was very little and not very happy for quite a while. I sighed. I was frustrated, even a bit annoyed. Then I remembered it was only two days before Christmas.
Why was this family in a hotel?
Why was this little one in tears?
How long had the mother been up?
How much sleep had the family had recently?
It was Christmas.
It was a baby.
That first Christmas could not have been quiet either: crowds of travelers, animals of burden, peddlers of goods, and a mother with child.
Jesus was born where others would hear. He may have been in a stable or a guest room – it does not matter. He came to fulfill a plan, a prophecy. He came not as an adult to fix our sin problem immediately. He came as a noisy, crying baby. His plan had taken years. In fact for the last few hundred years, no word from God was even spoken. It was quiet. Now as angels spoke to shepherds in the neighboring field, the baby cried. Jesus was hungry. He needed to be held. He was tired. He did everything that our little ones do – like that little one in the room next to mine in the hotel.
I wondered that night how Bethlehem responded at the cries of this newborn. I wonder how many caught the significance of his birth. I wonder how many listened to the shepherds report of a Savior born sleeping in a manger.
I fell asleep that night listening to a baby’s cry thankful for the baby’s cry so many years ago that first Christmas night.