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.
Addendum -- See Luke 2:1-20. Have a true Merry Christmas everyone.
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!
[ Author Unknown -- from Anonymous ]
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