What do Santa and Jesus have in common?
- sitting on his lap
- the whole world in one night
- led by a light
- Holiday Spirit
- gifts, warmth, kindness, love
- you gotta believe…
or it’s just a story, a myth, long-told. Verses recited with option for annual renewal. Santa and Jesus, they both come again this time of year. Do you believe?
Belief is an amazing thing. When I believe in myself, I am better. When I believe in you, you are better. My belief in you may even help you believe in yourself. Now, that’s magic, isn’t it? Because that is a gift that keeps giving.
How good it is that, year after year, we have the chance to resubscribe to this St Nick of Christmas and to this Jesus of Nazareth. Quite the pair: a jolly old elf who flies through the night on a reindeer-drawn-sleigh and a babe born in a manger, witnessed by shepherds and visited by wise men.
They both bring out the best in us, year after year.
Not so much to do with facts, figures, or catching him in the act. Separate from packages, tinsel and ornaments on the tree. Carols and mistletoe, nice, but not necessary. More about the internal trappings, that intangible stuff no one can quite put a finger on, that impels us toward better.
Kind of like believing.
Merry Christmas, friends.
The vulnerable fetus Mary was carrying, whose conception was not completely science-based but entirely evidence-based, was born to humanity in all its diversity, so that we — no longer Jew or Gentile, no longer slave or free, no longer male or female, indeed transgender — we without right or entitlement but by grace through faith, could be called children of God.
It is for these 7 words that Christ came to earth.
So much casting shame and guilt.
So much accusing of conspiracy and falsehood.
So much indicting for behaviors unbecoming and deeds unwelcome.
So much righteous indignation.
So much misunderstanding.
This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. (Matthew 1: 18-19)
Joseph, the faithful, had every right to cast out his young bride-to-be, who apparently, was not. And yet… he grew curious about how this came to be. He questioned how it may have come about. He deliberated on the action he was about to take. He wondered if there was more to this story than he yet knew. And then,
an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-22)
Who am I falsely accusing?
What conclusion am I jumping to?
Where have I misread, mistrusted, and misunderstood?
How, in my righteousness, which I have called faithfulness
have I hurried to divorce – even quietly –
rather than consideration, consolation, provision?
Where, in my failure to be curious,
have I rushed to the … and now!
rather than abiding in the … and yet?
Seek first to understand, and then to be understood.