I  Wonder

Every year about this time I WONDER what happened to the real meaning of Christmas. Store sales, Christmas lights, etc. In many ways we have marred the true meaning of Christmas.

We all know the story of Christmas. On that night long ago, while the shepherds guarded the temple flocks at a place called Migdal-Eder, a ray of hope burst forth on a people and a world trapped in darkness. We're told an angel spoke words which have become somewhat famous the world over.

"Fear not," he said, "I bring you glad tidings of great joy!"

The shepherds turned their attention heavenward, for they understood what these tidings might be. The angel continued.

"Unto you is born this day in the City of David, a savior, who is Christ (the chosen and anointed one) the Lord." Then the angel was joined by an entire company of heavenly beings, rejoicing and singing "glory to God in the highest..."

The shepherds, far from being dumbfounded by this display as we have been led to believe, understood what all of this meant. In fact, Jewish and Rabbinical tradition named this Migdal-Eder as the place where the long awaited announcement of the coming of the savior would occur. The proclamation would go out from that point. In answer to that very tradition, the scriptures tell us that, upon hearing this from the heavens, and seeing the child laying in the manger, the shepherd "made known abroad all they had heard and seen." Some coincidence, huh?

As Christmas draws near, I wonder what the shepherds, the angels, and the baby in the manger of Bethlehem had to do with million dollar church buildings, million dollar church bank accounts, and church boards which pull the strings of puppet-like "pulpiteers."

I wonder what the Christ-child would say about all the pretty songs being sung in shopping mall atriums where no one stops to hear -- or even think about -- the message of the season.

I wonder what the shepherds would think if they knew that we, too, have heard the glad tidings of great joy, only to fail miserably at spreading it abroad.

I wonder what Mary - who knew the truth of that boy-child at her breast and pondered it in her heart - would say if she could see how we idolize that manger and that starry night while skirting the issue of the cross and almost completely ignoring the truth of the empty tomb.

I wonder what Joseph, who had taken many a risk to get to this point in his eventful life, would say if he could hear the excuses we make, or the whining we do, when things get rough.

On that night, when the shepherds approached the stable, the wise men had only begun their journey to the Holy Land. They knew that this baby they would someday find in Bethlehem was no ordinary baby. They would bring him gifts from their home countries. They would honor him as a king.

I wonder what these gift bearing gentiles would think about our glut of gift giving; about our wanting and demanding, pushing and shoving to get just the right gift at just the right price. I wonder what they would say if they could hear a child - influenced by television and by family tradition - demand that his parents (or Santa Clause) get him another "accessories sold separately, batteries not included" fad toy of the year. They would all probably feel, as a friend of ours so eloquently states, that we "just don't get it."

The truth is, the Creator of the Universe gave a gift to this world on that special night, so long ago. This gift was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger. It was a ray of warm sunshine in a cold, dark land. It was a gift of hope in a world gone wrong. It was God putting on skin and walking among men.
This baby we celebrate was not only Jesus of Nazareth, as some would say.

A good man.   A teacher.

Maybe a prophet, but at any rate, at the very least a wise and just rabbi.


He was much more than that!

He was the Christ; the son of the living God.   And he still is!
Addendum -- See Luke 2:1-20.   Have a true Merry Christmas everyone.

[ Author Unknown -- from Anonymous ]


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