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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Nativity


4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to be delivered. 7 And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. 8 And in that region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, "Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which will come to all the people; 11 for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!" 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they went with haste, and found Mary and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it they made known the saying which had been told them concerning this child; 18 and all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (LK 2: 4-20)

1 comment:


    For many of us, it's that: a story, a nice story that somehow gets us in the right mood to swing into the season with a little bit of gusto, a little bit of enthusiasm.

    However, it just won't do to think very much about this story. We could become dismal jimmy's, we could take, God forbid, the merriness out of Christmas especially for others who expect us to be chocked full of good cheer and drunk on the holiday spirit! We could even forget to model ourselves on the three kings and not go into more debt by buying presents for the more significant people in our lives. Yee gads! If we thought about this story very much, we could wind up ruining Christmas and nobody could understand that and people would shake their heads and pity us, poor souls, and whisper to each other that we need some mental help.

    Think what would happen if our thoughts about this nice story degenerated into some theology that might lay behind it: "The Word Became Flesh," for instance. If we contemplated on that we might as well hangs bells from our
    bodies and shout as we passed through the living room, "Unsound! Unsound!" We could begin thinking
    of ourselves as the innkeeper or as Mary, as Joseph, as the Shepherds, even as the Baby Jesus, even(!) as the Holy Spirit or (and I can hardly say it) even as God the Father! Unhinged would be the verdict. That's way too much incarnation, too much theology, too much Christmas.

    Best not to think about this nice story at all. Bah, Humbug!

    Brother Woody, OP