It helps to know that everyone’s Christmas is broken. (Beginning with Joseph and Mary’s original version.)December 24, 2015
Out walking last week, for no apparent reason, I found myself pondering the visual of a perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas; snowflakes falling, twinkle lights glowing, children laughing, stockings hung, all to the sounds of Bing Crosby crooning from the phonograph. And as the scene played out, I secretly wished for simpler days when Christmas was Christmas, dammit, and my Facebook feed wasn’t a bi-polar melange of the voters’ visceral, dark sentiments interspersed with articles like, ‘How to Survive a Mass Shooting’, just above Pinterest posts of DIY sparkly snow globes and Tasty’s tempting holiday dip recipes.
But…as my mind wandered, my thoughts went to the very first Christmas in Galilee. Don’t kid yourself, it wasn’t a pretty sight. There was Mary, 9 months preggo and presumably a pile of emotions leaving all her familiar surroundings and peeps at her most vulnerable moment, riding on a freaking donkey (ugh), with Joseph, unemployed, thus, odds-on edgy and irritable, trudging along next to her, making the lonely 3-day trek to Judea as an unmarried, extremely controversial, low-income, expectant couple.
All the above because The. Man. had issued a daunting decree to insure that all the humans in the Empire had been officially counted by Roman government officials for the express purpose of extorting their hard-earned dollars through taxation, compelling them to report to their historical tribal cities. (now you’re getting the ugly picture, right?!)
Mary and Joseph had apparently not read the fine print.
Yes, of course they had the benefit of an initial angelic visitation months before all this went down, but let’s be real. They arrived in Bethlehem where they found no welcoming committee, not even a BED to sleep in, no sense of miraculous intervention and birthed their miracle baby Jesus on a pile of hay in a mini-barn reeking of manure with Old MacDonald’s farm looking on and not a midwife in sight. I can't help wondering if they had moments of deep, dark, questioning in their hearts.
Yes, thankfully for this young couple, heavenly confirmations at last arrived (!!!!) in the form of a spectacular star overhead, angels singing, keyed-in shepherds and Magi visiting with treasures and of course, talking animals. (just kidding on that last point!)
Shortly thereafter, in his attempt to find this promised baby-King wrapped in rags, whom Mary, a mere peasant girl, had borne (crazy how God chooses to work out the details of His plan, right?!), King Herod the Great, furious at being foiled by the esteemed wise men, ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem and its vicinity.
An angel appeared to Jesus’ stepfather, Joseph, in a dream (oops, what now?!), warning him to flee to Egypt with his young family to escape Herod’s intentions.
On the road again.
Another transition. This time with a teething toddler. And, NO Huggies.
So, we have unwed pregnancy, a step-dad, plenty of fear, government control never before realized, and overly-taxed humans.
A miracle baby.
Choirs of angels singing overhead.
Influential men with valuable gifts.
Tyrants slaughtering babies - I think you’d call that a form of terrorism, right?!
So…what are we missing? Just Bing Crosby and Pinterest!
It must be Christmas, after all!
Well God bless America, I’m relieved!
Jesus is born, Savior to all....Every. Single. Day.
(All the details can be found in the the Bible, the book of Matthew chapter 1 and 2. I enjoy the Message version when reading this account!)
Posted by Denise Mira.