Although we may still be eating leftover turkey and dressing, we all understand that the Christmas season is officially here. Time for tree trimming, cookie baking, fudge making, and gift buying and receiving — it’s part of our celebration of the birth of Jesus.
Just for a refresher, there was a pesky little taxation/census mandated by the Romans. Joseph and a very pregnant Mary made their way to Bethlehem, they couldn’t find a room, Jesus was born in a stable, the angels appeared to shepherds, the shepherds then rushed to the manger, and Mary pondered these things in her heart.
Then a super bright star lead some wise men to Jesus. First they unwisely asked King Herod the whereabouts of the new King of the Jews. Herod, a rather jealous fellow, appeared curious, but was actually furious, wanting to kill Jesus. The wise guys left Herod in a dither and continued following the star, ending up in the house where Joseph and Mary were now living to present their kingly gifts to Jesus. (According to the Bible, the wise men never made it to the manger!)
I’m sure things would have been very different if others had planned that First Noel. For instance, if the Romans had sent the census forms in the mail, it would have been so much easier. A few circles blacked in with a #2 pencil, a postage free return mailer and that census would not have been so taxing.
Also, someone should have told Joseph about call-ahead seating … er … I mean call-ahead sleeping. I mean, a little advance notice of their arrival accompanied by a small deposit would have held a first floor double so that Jesus would have a warm, dry bed in which to sleep away his first night.
As for those dirty, smelly, shepherds — why were they the recipients of the angelic announcement? They were uneducated and had dirt under their fingernails, for goodness’ sake. Not to mention sheep droppings on their sandals! I’m sure there are some who would have made sure the notification of Jesus’ birth was given to people more significant than the shepherds.
And the wise men should have been a bit more wise and taken their wives with them. The women would never have gone to one king to ask about another, for women clearly understand what it is to be jealous. The wise wives would have asked directions along the way, arrived in time to help Mary deliver the baby, made a pot of lamb stew for the shepherds’ late supper, and brought practical gifts like diapers and baby lotion for Jesus.
Thankfully, that was not God’s way of doing things. Christmas celebrated God’s way means that like Mary, we should ponder these things in our hearts. Like the shepherds, we should realize that ordinary people should worship the extraordinary Jesus. Like the wise men, our journey should take us to Jesus, bringing the best we have to offer. Like the angels, we should sing, “Glory to God in the highest.”
That, my friends is what Christmas is all about.
Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.