The night was glorious. Icicles shimmered in the moonlight; the snow crunched beneath the runners of the sleigh.
"Look at that bright star, Papa!" Becca exclaimed, pointing toward the sky. She drew her coat tight around her as she sat between her parents on the seat of the sleigh. "It looks like the star that shone over Bethlehem!"
Papa smiled. "Yes, it is bright. And it seems to be above the church!"
"I can hardly wait to get to the service, Papa! I wish we hadn't left so late. I'm afraid we'll miss part of it."
"Becca, you know we left as soon as we could." Papa looked over at Mama, his eyes shining with love. Mama held baby Esther close. "Your mama needed us to do the evening chores so she could get the baby ready for the service. But never mind now. We're nearly there."
Mama put an arm around Becca. "Everything's different since Esther was born, isn't it, my sweet girl? Babies have a way of changing people's lives!" she laughed.
As they rounded the bend Becca heard singing as sweet as she had ever heard: "Hark! the herald angels sing..." "Oh, hurry, Papa! They've already started," Becca cried.
But as they turned into the church yard, Becca's heart sank. The church was dark!
Papa pulled the sleigh to a stop, and then Becca saw it. The Wilson's barn, next to the church, was crowded with people!
The singing had stopped now. Becca, Mama and Papa crept quietly to the door of the barn and peered in. Several lanterns were hanging on posts, offering light to the folks gathered. Mounds of fresh hay had been strewn around the floor. The women and children were sitting on the hay while the men stood behind them. A horse, a cow, and three sheep were in the stalls and several chickens roosted for the night. Except for the occasional bleating of sheep, the animals were quiet.
Papa found a post to lean against. Becca settled down on a pile of clean hay at the feet of Preacher Mohod, who was standing in the middle of the barn. He reached out and took Esther so that Mama could sit down beside Becca. Gently he cradled the baby in his arms.
"It really wasn't so different from this, you know, when the Savior was born. A tiny baby, wrapped in cloth, spending his first night in a barn. His loving parents caring for him, his mother singing him lullabies. Animals settling down for the night. His first visitors, shepherds, huddling around to see him, just as you are now."
Baby Esther cried softly and began to suck on her fist. Preacher Mohod smiled and placed the baby in her mother's arms. The he continued.
"The sweet baby in the manger that night was like any other baby -- he cried, he ate, he slept. But he was so very different. When that baby was born, the invisible God showed Himself! All the fullness of God dwelt in that tiny child! The Son of God came and lived among us, to show us the way to the Father!
"Brothers and sisters, do you want to know God? Do you long to see His face, to reach out and touch Him? Then look at Jesus. See Him peacefully sleeping in a crude manger. Watch Him grow and begin His ministry. Hear His words, 'He that hath seen me hath see the Father.' Behold His love as He hangs on the cross to pay the price for our sins. Rejoice that He is alive again and has ascended into Heaven, where He prays for us!
"Jesus is the image of the invisible God. When you've had a good, long look at Jesus, you have seen God Himself!"
Preacher Mohod used the following verses for his text: Colossians 1:15, 2:9; John :4, 14:6,9; Acts 5:29-31; Hebrews 7:25.