Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas.

What would Christmas be like without friends and family?  So often we get wrapped up in the presents and lights and running around that we lose sight of the reason we celebrate Christmas.

Christmas is a celebration of an obedient girl and her betrothed and what their obedience brought to the world.  When we think life is rough and that God must have turned his back on us, we need to think Mary and Joseph and what obedience to God's call cost them.  Based on the culture of that time Mary could be put to death for infidelity.  The couple was shunned by their families.  Talk about awkward family holidays.  Then to come time for fruition of God's promise, they couldn't even find a place to stay but had to settle down in a barn.  Not the place I would want to give birth, especially as a first time mom.  That would be terrifying.  No midwife to help.  Just Joseph and the animals to bear witness to God's miracle.

Jesus birth was foretold to wise men and shepherds alike.  God didn't differentiate by classes who was in the know.  God sent a gift for ALL peoples, not just the top of the social hierarchy.  That is something that gives me so much hope.  God doesn't hold out the good news for just a few to share with those they see fit.  He shares with EVERYONE so the whole world may know his son came to the world for the salvation of us ALL.  What a great God!

While Mary was still reeling from the disappointment of delivering God's child in a barn, God sent both wise men and shepherds to share His plan and give her encouragement.  As the Bible says, she listed to all that they said and held it in her heart.  God didn't abandon her but sent his servants to encourage her and help strengthen her for this challenge she'd said yes to.

A baby was born and the alternative to external connection with God was created.  We no longer have to go to the priests with our offerings but we go straight to God.  Jesus made a way for us to walk into the kingdom of God.

Now that is the best Christmas gift of all.  It didn't come in a box wrapped in fancy paper with big bows and a big price tag but in a dirty stable among the  animal.

Thank you God for giving us a reason to celebrate.  Let us never forget the cost of that first Christmas gift.

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