When the birth is over, the angel song is silent, and the guests have departed – what next?
How do we find a new rhythm of existence when everything is new, upended, unsettled? (Surely new babies – and a thousand other things – unsettle everything about life.)
On the third night – when things were still brand new (but also seemed to have always been that way) – what did Mary and Joseph do with their new reality, the bundle of new life that depended on them utterly and wholly?
On that third night – when they were still in a strange place far from home (but what place, exactly? how long did they stay in the stable? the cave? did place open for them at an inn? did relatives make space for the young family?) – what did Mary and Joseph do now that two had become three?
On that third night – when God in flesh breathed earth’s air, drank mother’s milk, slept in father’s arms – what did creation feel in her roots and veins as her Maker joined the dance of human life upon her surface?
Christmas night three: a new rhythm begins in the young family, in the ancient creation, in the newborn babe.
(And the angel song – though silent on earth – continues reverberating across the heavens above.)