Monday, December 06, 2010
Christmas Reflections, Part 1
There is so much that is familiar about the Christmas story of God entering humanity in the birth of the baby Jesus. And, there are many things that have been misunderstood or overlooked.
For example, the so-called wise men from the east were not kings, nor do we know whether there were three of them. Further, when they arrived in Bethlehem it may have been as much as two years after the birth so they definitely didn’t find Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus in a stable. In fact we don’t even know if the holy family ever stayed in a stable on the night of the birth. Because baby Jesus was placed in a manger or feeding trough (Luke 2:7) there was speculation that there was a stable.
When the magi (wise men) showed up in Jerusalem (Matthew 2:2) looking for the one born king of the Jews, no one could tell them where the child had been born. How surprising it must have been to the travelers who had come so far following a star.
When King Herod heard about the foreigners looking for a baby king he called upon his religious leaders and asked where the Messiah was to be born. They concluded from the writings of the prophet Micah that the place was Bethlehem.
Bethlehem was only a couple of miles from Jerusalem but no one had cared enough to bother to go and see. There was an obvious disinterest in God and the eternal activity of God taking place around them.
How much does God matter to us? How aware are we of God’s activity around us? When questioned by others about God’s movement would we be able to answer?