If you read the early chapters of Matthew and Luke thoughtfully, you’ll conclude, as I have, that the Christmas story is not a simple, easy tale fit for a kindergarten classroom or a nursery bedtime hour.
All of the Enemy’s dark oppression we feel today was present then.
For instance, Mary’s ride on a donkey was downright dangerous. Think Good Samaritan’s story! Scripture skips over any detail of exactly who the midwife was in that dank cave carpeted with straw. Mary had been schooled by the negative responses of her village for being pregnant out of wedlock. But she had seen angels and she had found refuge in her relative Elizabeth and in her love for God’s Word.
God gave Mary a good man in Joseph – solid, faithful to truth as angels revealed it, an upstanding example of integrity.
Of course, the angel choir with its backdrop of ebony sky seemed wasted on crude herdsmen. Still, they had sense enough to find the Christ Child, worship Him and then scatter throughout Bethlehem with the good news of His birth. Unheard of heralds of a king’s arrival! Have you ever wondered how they even found the holy family in Bethlehem, bursting at the seams with out-of-town guests?
I wish I had heard that angel concert. Perhaps, if I stop a bit from all my bustle and busy-ness, I can hear an echo of that introductory greeting: Don’t be afraid. I bring you glorious news of great joy which shall be for all people!
Or – here’s a novel idea! I might pick up that message and take it, in my turn, to someone near at hand or, even, far away. For, while I revel in the festive occasions and super-abundant stuff that insure my ‘Happy Holidays,’ many, like Mary, have little more than their basic needs met.
I wonder – how can I bring glory to God and peace to those around me?
I’ll ponder a bit on how little happiness there is in the beloved first Christmas story. And then, I’ll look for little cracks of joy and quiet my heart enough to take to someone a simple kindness that brings praise to God for His amazing gift of love. Clutter and confusion aside, I can bring Jesus to someone needy while making sure He is welcome in my home and heart.