Christmas Inspiration - A Very Unusual Story
Why do we celebrate Christmas? It’s a birthday celebration but is that the only reason that it has become the primary holiday in the western world. We talk about Christmas as the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. As the story unfolds we see that this is not a normal birth. There is something peculiar with the mother. It seems she is pregnant but shouldn’t be since she has never had intercourse with anyone. As bazaar as this is, when it comes time for the birth, strangers come to where Mary and the child Jesus are and say they have been told to come and worship him. Then to cap it off, three very esteemed men from the far east appear and offer valuable gifts.
What is going on? Who is this that has been born. While for most people, birth is assumed to be the beginning, with this birth there is the idea that someone has come to earth. It’s never stated that way, but it’s a kind of sub-text to the story. There is the statement that he is special but he is a baby. Babies are entirely helpless, totally dependent on their parents for food, shelter and nurturance. They not only start off dependent but the dependence goes on for several years. Even 2000 years ago, a child of six or seven was not expected to be independent.
Now the special part of this story was that this baby was divine. That somehow this child was part of God. God? Supreme being? He who made the universe? How could this be?
It would seem that God paying visit to man might come in another way. He might come as a king from another area, or as a wise old man, or a vision in the mind of those that could see visions, or any number of ways. But to come as a totally dependent baby, to a mother, who it would seem was pregnant out of wedlock, with little resources, is incredible; and inspirational.
Christmas inspiration is about humility. It’s about God meeting man on man’s terms in human form and from the very beginning of life. It speaks to how we should meet each other on the other’s terms with compassion, understanding, and like a baby, vulnerability. This is symbolized by the gift, not the exchange of gifts. It’s the one time in the year that the focus is on giving and it started with the gift of God himself in the form of a baby, dependent on humans to care for him.
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