Finding Your Way to Christmas
by Myra F. Smith
"...and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." - Luke 2:7 (NIV)
One of the problems inherent with the story of Jesus' birth is that it has no meaning to us today. Armed with a cell phone on one hip and a to-do list on the other, most of us have no mental connection with a poor man and woman who experience the birth of their child in a barn. This story is simply not current, not relevant and not important to busy, multi-task people like us. And, as the saying goes, therein lies the problem.
How can our minds and hearts go back to Bethlehem in the first century? What can we possibly do to help us understand the atmosphere in that lowly stable, the fears of Mary and Joseph and the life-altering miracle of a child born of an earthly mother and heavenly Father?
As I see it, we have many choices in the way we relate to this story. We can assume that it is a fable. In this theory, Jesus becomes no more important than Paul Bunyan or the Easter Bunny.
We can believe that Jesus was born and that He is the Son of God but since it happened so long ago, we can dismiss it as irrelevant to our lives today.
Or, we can simply believe. Like trusting, little children, we can look up at the night sky and feel the electricity of that night. Standing inside the barn, we can look out at the lowly shepherds and sense their amazement at the holy sight. A glance at the wise men can thrill us. And, as both animals and admirers kneel in reverence to the only Son of God, we can know that no night will ever be as important as this one.
Never forget in this the year that the same inn is empty today that was empty at Jesus' birth. Just because we are more sophisticated and more advanced, doesn't mean that we are more willing to allow Jesus into our hearts than the innkeeper who shut Jesus out 2,000 years ago.
If you have ever wondered, as I have, why you spend your Christmas doing mostly worldly things, let your heart and mind wrap itself around the empty inn, the sweet little couple who needed a place to stay, the shepherds and wise men, the animals, and a million tiny stars in a perfect sky. Remember the child who was born for you and me...
Then, open the door of your heart, and like a child, experience the wonder that is Christmas.