Sunday, December 23, 2007

reflections on Christmas

So, I've been thinking a lot about the original Christmas recently. What was it really like? What was really going on?

I think so often our Chrostmas story plays and thoughts sanitize the story to make it more enjoyable. But, in doing that I think we miss some of the significance of the situation in which Jesus, God's Son, came into our world to save us! This wasn't some quaint little story . . . it had a prfound impact on the lives of Mary and Joseph before Jesus even arrived.

We live in a world where a young girl having a child out of wedlock is nothing out of the ordinary, nor is it a bog deal. But, in Israel at that time, it was punishable by death by stoning (literally, having people throw rocks at you). The news that the angel brought Mary was not something that she wanted to hear. This situation would make her an object of a scandalous event and completely destroy her reputation among the people in Israel!

Then there's Joseph. This news from Mary and from the angel put him in a tough spot as well. Mary was pledged to be married to him and now he finds out she's pregnant . . . and he's supposed to believe that this is a child form God, not form another man. What kind of a person would choose to believe that? By staying with Mary and still marrying her, Joseph brought himself into the scandalous situation and allowed his reputation to be destroyed along with hers.

This was no pleasant situation for either of them! Yet, they chose to trust God and follow His plan for their lives and His plan for bringing His Son into the world. They had faith in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Then there is where Jesus was actually born . . . in a stable! This was no easy situation for them either. No warm place to lay the baby or for Mary to rest . . . in the midst of animals and all the noise and smell that goes along with them. This is where the Savior of the world came into this earth.

God could have chosen different circumstances and a better place to send His Son to earth . . . but He didn't! God chose a young unwed teenager and her husband-to-be to carry and raise His Son. God chose a smelly, noisy, dirty stable for the place where His Som would be born.

God sent His Son to be a Savior to all . . . from the lowliest in the world, to the greatest!

I think we can often miss the significance and life-altering circumstances that surrounded the birth of Christ when we watch our Christmas plays and see our nativity scenes. They look so quaint . . . and tidy . . . and everyone looks so serene! But, the original Christmas night was anything but!

Jesus' birth was a life-altering event for the entire world . . . just as it was for Mary and Joseph. Jesus' birth is an even that changed history forever! It is significant! It's not some quaint little story that we read once a year! It matters that it happened! It matters that it happened!

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