Fa, la, la, la, la – It’s Christmas

Posted by on Dec 24, 2023 in Blog | 0 comments

shallow focus photography of religious figurines

With temperatures rising by the day, Christmas must be near. While some dream of a snow filled white Christmas, Australian images are of sunshine, BBQ’s and beaches. Though I have lived in three countries, they have all been in the Southern Hemisphere, so this meets with my approval. I’ve never heard ‘sleigh bells ringing’, but if I did, I wouldn’t link it to Christ’s advent.

So where do my thoughts go this Christmas season? I remain intrigued by the characters of Christmas.

Have you ever wondered what the wise men reported back after their Bethlehem journey? Perhaps it was, “That’s correct. We travelled too many kilometres to count, and eventually discovered a peasant family with a baby. We stocked them up with gold, frankincense and myrrh, and after a disturbing dream, hurried back home.” Would the comment on the listeners lips be, “big deal. So what was that all about?” I don’t know how they answered the sceptics, but am quietly confident they never regretted their journey. No doubt the star they saw made a difference, but I wonder what remained in their memory years later. Were any of them still alive when Jesus started his public ministry, 30 years after they had knelt at his manger? Did they suspect that the story of their journey would still be told 2000 years later?

And then there were shepherds. They had an angelic vision to talk about, but the actual scene that greeted them on their arrival at Bethlehem’s stable would have seemed a little pedestrian. Whilst my city dweller heart might delight at peering into a stable, you wouldn’t imagine that shepherds would get overly excited. Mangers and cattle are pretty ordinary for the farming community. Did they still remember the angels’ chorus years later? Were any of them in the crowd of 5000 whom Jesus fed with 5 loaves and 2 small fish? It’s impossible to know, but what if all of them had died before Jesus’ ministry began? It’s perfectly possible, perhaps even probable, as lifespans in the ancient world were not long. What would they have made of that night, 10 or 20 years later, if there was nothing obvious to show for it?

And then there is Mary. What did she make of the strangers who came to gawk at her new born? We are told that she pondered all the events in her heart long after they were over. The pondering heart of Mary… that questioning wonder still remains.

“What does this mean?” It’s the question wise men asked, the question shepherds asked, the question Mary asked, the question we should ask, this Christmas… every Christmas…

May God bless you and yours as you grapple your way to a deeper answer this Christmas season.

As always, nice chatting

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

This is a lightly amended version of an article I originally wrote for The Advocate in December 2012, which was republished in my book, Could this be God? (BRF, 2016).

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