From now until Christmas I will be taking another look at various ideas, places and characters of the story of Jesus’ arrival hear on earth. The reality of what God was doing and is doing in the world is, I believe, best demonstrated in the events surrounding the birth of the Messiah. We must not be surprised that God’s approach to the affairs of humanity are unusual and unexpected. We have grown so accustomed to what we have heard so many times, we no longer invest any more energy than is necessary to recollect the mystery and peculiarity of the story.
This is the challenge of this time of the year. We have become so acclimated to the songs and lights that we have missed the essence of what is taking place around us–and should be taking place within us as well. Christmas is more than just a holiday for those of us who follow and worship Jesus. Christmas is a reminder that truly remarkable events took place in the midst of unusual circumstances. If we can regain some of that awkwardness inherent in the story, we might find a renewed sense of why this moment in our faith history is so important.
I don’t know if the people involved in the Christmas story fully understood what was taking place around them. Many people hope to be included in the making of history, but it may be more true that we only realize that history was made as we walked along faithfully. If the various players in the Christmas story were people like us they were sufficiently concerned with making it through one day at a time. It is possible there were times where they suspected that something more was taking place. It could have simple been the yearning of every human heart to be involved in something greater than themselves. We will never know for sure.
My hope is to revisit the familiar events and circumstances of the Christmas season and remind us all of what many already know, that Christmas truly is “the most wonderful time of the year.”
My prayer is that we see the coming of the Christ with new eyes.