I hear comments, drops of words that are meant to smack as reminders, to remember the real reason for the season. Sometimes it sounds as though somehow in the midst of all our merrymaking, we should really be looking quietly at that Baby in a manger, thinking real hard and holy about that Night. So we bake and string garland, shop for presents and go to concerts, all the while throwing these reminders around, telling ourselves we should really be looking up at the sky for angels, instead of going about this busy holiday business.
But part of me thinks, or wonders… did He not come to earth?? Mary pondered these things in her heart, but she still fed a baby and walked to get water and cooked meals and swept dirty floors. She still had to go to a baptism and buy pigeons beforehand and talk to Joseph and get vegetables for the next day.
So I’m wondering, if your heart is quiet, can you not ponder all these things as you go about your earthy life too?
We have to wonder then, don’t we, why DO we celebrate Christmas? Why do we carry on these festivities at all when things like joy and thankfulness, worship and generosity should be part of our everyday lives, not brought out like berry wreaths to adorn our exteriors once a year.
So, I’m not saying I’m certain of this, but I do wonder if the act of celebration is more a gift given to us, than it is anything else.
“This is what faith gives us, celebrations of what has already come true and celebrations of what will someday be true. We’re between the promises and the coming true. And to keep us going, the Good Lord gives us celebrations. We celebrate because we believe, not because we’re particularly happy, because often we’re not.” ~Myrtle
The Story of Christmas is my story, a part of my history. When you tell and re-tell parts of your history, you are learning about where you came from, and how to continue where you are going. I have to re-tell this story to myself every day. But the celebrating of it… the looking forward, the anticipation, the delight of candles in a dark room and special foods laid out once a year, the special songs and particular smells… this is a gift of joy in a hard world.
Yesterday, his upper lip sticky with chocolate and whipped foam, my little son asked questions about this Story, one he must one day choose to take or deny as his own. My answers, the bare facts of it all, sounded crazy coming out of my mouth.
Jesus was adopted by his earthly father too, just like some of your friends are.
Because Joseph wasn’t the father who made him.
Who made him?
God put him in Mary’s tummy.
Well then who is Jesus?
He is God, who became a man. You see, there is one God, but he is three different persons. How?
I don’t know exactly how, but he is. He’s not like us.
Who is Jesus’ father then?
God the Father.
Well then who is Jesus?
Yes, it’s not the most acceptable story on the block. It’s not the easiest to understand. But then, as dear old Mr. Lewis says, “it’s just the sort of thing you wouldn’t expect”, which is not necessarily grounds to build an entire theology on, but it does ring as a sort of truth. If God really were far grander, far beyond my imaginations, my ability to comprehend, as a made thing should feel towards its Creator, then I would have to expect that His ways would not be something I could conjure up to man-made stories.
It’s a wonderful, real, downright dirty and broken up Story, with Glory leaking all through. This is the story of our lives too, is it not? So I can sit with my mind full of holiday creatings and desire for cozy merriment, and still muse on the good Words every morning before dawn cracks through the glass panes, and find joy in the telling of my Story, our Story; as true today as it will be in June, but giving thanks for a reason, a season to shout about it.