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Christmas trees sparkle with gaudy baubles hung just so. Garlands add swagger and sway to light posts and stairwells and fireplace mantles. Hope twinkles brightly in children’s eyes and wishful giggles. We tell the old, old story of our Savior’s infant birth. We join choirs with carols and mangers with camels. We expect peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

We rarely expect the unexpected, though, anymore . . .

We rarely await the incarnate presence of Salvation like Simeon and Anna in the Temple . . .

We rarely hold our own miracle baby and welcome our cousin’s newborn Messiah . . .

We rarely listen to angels sing or stand surprised in the fields, staring at a glorious sight . . .

This Christmas season, I want to do some of those “rarely” occurrences again. I want to hear the Heavenly host.

Many of my most precious childhood Christmas memories take place not around twinkling lights and glowing candles, but on cement floors of orphanage compounds in Mexico and in the storage rooms of downtown homeless shelters. Rarely did my family exchange gifts; rather, we would journey to the less fortunate and make merry with them. At the strike of midnight, I remember slipping bags of carefully selected and wrapped gifts into the dark rooms of residents at a rescue mission. I remember playing and singing with brown children just like me in the dirt and dust of the Reynosa border town.

Today is the last day of my students’ final exams, and I am considering what type of memories I want to make this Christmas. How can I welcome my Savior’s Presence in the next two weeks of vacation calm? How can I expect the unexpected miracles?

A soft peace has begun to seep into my heart and calm the agonized cries that so often escape my lips. Reading through old prayer journals, meditating on family traditions, considering those times of childlike wonder and selfless serving has made me aware of all the twinkling lights filling my life with glory right here and right now. For today, I am resting in the knowledge that the God who has been answering my prayers for the last 23 years will continue to hear, continue to answer, continue to say, “I’ve got this, My Child. Just wait and rest.”

Wait and rest. Let Salvation be pregnant in your soul. Believe and give thanks. Sing “Gloria.” Proclaim the Good News.

There are twinkling lights all over the city of Denver. There are twinkling lights filling up our churches and our homes. There are twinkling lights beginning to sparkle in my own heart once again. I’ve come to bow before Christ the King.

I’ve come to experience the “rarely,” to watch and pray as hope is born anew.

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