This week I’ve posted fictional accounts of the second Christmas, thinking about the lives of those people who currently reside on the corner table in my family room, as part of a miniature nativity set.
And as I look back on these posts, I think part of this series was simply me looking for a deeper meaning in Christmas. I don’t mean deeper than the commercial aspects of Christmas, such as shopping, advertisements, TV shows and parties. But rather a deeper meaning than what we usually focus on in Christian circles.
We recount the story of the nativity each year – the historic events – the trip to Bethlehem, the inn keeper, the barn, the shepherds, the three kings, etc. And there is meaning in all of that. Like the fact that shepherds – the outlaws of their time – where the first ones to hear the news about Christ. That says a lot to me.
But for too much of my life, I followed a historic Jesus… he came, he died, he rose again. He died on the cross and saved me. Kinda the same way George Washington crossed the Delaware to provide for my country’s freedom. It all happened a long time ago, and I’m the beneficiary today.
AND… as we tell (and retell) the historic account of the nativity, it seems that at Christmas it’s easy to lose focus of the living Jesus—and the relationship we can have with him today.
And personally, I don’t want to lose focus on the loving, breathing, sit-right-next-to-you Jesus. Because once Jesus comes into your world, nothing is ever the same.
Like my fictional shepherd Zeb, I sometimes over think my relationship with Jesus, overlooking the changes that are taking place in my life. Like my Mary, I want all my questions answered now, and have to learn patience. Like Gaspar, there are times when I get giddy, unable to concentrate. And like my Joseph, I wonder why the God who sounded so close yesterday seems more distant today.
So this Christmas, I will look for Christ not in the nativity, but rather in the person across from me. For my God is not about reliving history, but about renewing relationships.
God bless, and peace to you. EG