Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas... what's it all really about?

It's a story about faith. That's a topic that's out of bounds for many, because we have so little of it left. Our faith is eroded. Consider our collective faith in the Board of the CMHR, the NDP government of Mr. Selinger et al, our "business sense" Mayor..."Oh ye of little faith" likely never rang so true.
The story takes place in an occupied territory of the Roman Empire. Some nobody... a carpenter is the center of the story. Sure, I know... you figure it's the fair maiden. I don't agree.
This guy is pledged to be married to a (likely) much younger Mary. For a year they are engaged, and she turns up pregnant. The punishment for her would have been death by stoning, but Joe was a good man. He was prepared to simply let this become a quiet let down, having lost faith in his fiancee.
In a dream, he was told to take her as his wife because God had interfered with his humble plans. He obeyed, basically admitting to all around him that he couldn't keep it in his pants. The community around him would NOT have been amused, and many would have shunned him. He endured.
Told to travel to some hick town for a census with harsher consequences for not filling out the short form than Canadians are threatened with, he takes his pregnant wife and goes to a town that is your typical small town. People FLEE from them, but the rules were that you have to register in your HOME town. He had left here long ago, presumably had no family left, as they had to look for a Motel 6 or a Super 8. No rooms, so they humbled themselves and slept with the livestock.
The baby is born, and some shepherds show up. While we all have nice ideas about shepherds, these folks in their day were the lowest... there was only "up the ladder", except that once you put "sheep herder" on a resume, you got told to go away. Nice touch... the lowest people around come to see our son. What they did do was reinforce Joe's convictions and his desire to be obedient as a result of the "news" they heard. It helped him to be strong, and not second guess his choices.
A year or so later, in a house, some guys show up from "away". Far away. The journey took them about a year, following some celestial anomaly.  They check in with the "king" who was curious about their quest. He asked them to return to him with news after they found this "king" they sought, but sorry guys, he isn't here.
Herod you see was NOT a nice man, having killed off a few others who were ahead of him in line, so there may well have been some other descendant born somewhere who might be ahead of him in lineage.
These "wise men" bring some interesting stuff as baby gifts. my favourite was the embalming fluid. (myrrh)
The gold would become helpful soon enough.
The wise men don't return to report to King Herod, he's pissed and so he orders the murder of all infant boys with a bit of a "safety window" built in. Some tyrants will do whatever they have to to stay in power.
Joseph receives another dream. "Pack up all your stuff and move to Egypt...NOW". He does as he's told.
I'm amazed by that.
Who else picks up and moves what would have been a world away, a country where you don't speak the language, your client base gone, abandon your tools... fortunately they had the gold to help cushion the blow.

Herod dies and Joe has another dream. Personally I'd have stopped eating big meals before bed by this point. he's told to head back "home". He does as he's told.

If you believe the story, you must see that it would have never come together as it did without a relatively simple, honest man who was willing to be obedient, because he had faith. Had Joe decided differently... well he didn't, so there's no point in speculating. Regardless, one little boy was blessed with a "dad" who demonstrated great faith.

In a nutshell, that's what I think Christmas is about. Regardless of how you celebrate,

Merry Christmas

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