In today’s world, much of our celebration at Christmas is about what we see. Out of our imagination, heritage and what’s left over from last Christmas, we create a visual picture of what it will be this year. In our home, there may be a Christmas tree with its decorations, gifts scattered about underneath and other visible evidences inside and outside that a special time is coming. I recall traveling to Mexico City a number of years ago and the city itself was aglow, from churches and residences to the office buildings and hotels in the downtown section. It seemed that the entire city was prepared for a big party.
Inside churches throughout the world, you will notice that from about the middle of December and forward, there are preparations pointing to a major celebration. And without doubt, the traditional candlelight service will be observed on Christmas eve, a service that often ends with the quiet singing of Silent Night. And, surely the Christmas advent is worthy of all this attention.
But is this all what Christmas should be about? How about those individuals who brought Christmas into our world? Can we check in with them to better understand what they saw? And should that have a greater influence over what we see? After all, even in our everyday world, we realize, for example, that two people on witnessing the same car accident might have significantly different stories. So now our quest is to think about adjusting our thoughts about the meaning of Christmas as we re-examine what their stories were and how they saw things.
Some of those we will hear from were intimately part of the “main event.” Mary and Joseph were obviously in that group. But how about the innkeeper or King Herod and the chief priests and others? Maybe they didn’t say much but what they said or didn’t say, made a big impact. In between these two groups were others who brought something to the story of Christmas that is important to our understanding. We already talked about the writers of the gospels, pointing out their contribution on selecting certain events and not others to be a part of the Christmas story. So to fill in the picture, we will begin with Mary, Jesus’ mother, and what she saw and felt.
The Innkeeper & The Shepherds
Simeon and Anna
Herod and the Wise Men