That probably isn’t the way you’ve thought about the Christmas story. Sure, the story has donkeys and doves, maybe a cow and some sheep, but we’ve assumed that they are just the backdrop to the story giving it that humble, simple feel. What if…this ‘earthy’ setting wasn’t what God tolerated, but what God sought out? What if… the birth of Jesus is just as good of news to animals, fields, mountains, seas, planets and stars as it is to us?
Over the past couple weeks we’ve been considering the message behind the characters assembling at the birth of Jesus: angels, shepherds – what about Wise Men? Aka Kings or Magi, these people somehow crashed the party. The big question isn’t who let them in, but how did they know? And how come they knew so much more than the people on the invite list… or maybe they were on the list… Parallels today? Hmm…
Speaking for myself, I like to arrange my own special version of Christmas and have Jesus show up at it. That way I keep my life and faith the way I like them. Jesus doesn’t buy into that and the shepherds – the unholy, unkempt and unfavored guys in town – signal that. I guess God won’t be asking me to approve the invitation list to Jesus’ birthday party. So if you intend to show up at the stable, get ready. The party will be wild.
We love Christmas and the whole holiday season to be full of wonder and magic, but beyond our sentimentality we struggle with the actual story. Were there angels? Was Jesus born in a stable? Did Wise Men really show up following a travelling star? Ok, maybe the historicity of the details of the ‘God breaking into our world story’ are questionable, but the message needs to be heard. God is showing up, normal is different. Let’s listen with hearts as well as our heads.