So, the days are now getting longer and Christmas is almost here.
Here’s the wisdom.
Luke 2:1-14, (15-20)
2:1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2:2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
2:3 All went to their own towns to be registered.
2:4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.
2:5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
2:6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.
2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
2:8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
2:9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
2:10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:
2:11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
2:12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
2:13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
2:14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.”
2:16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.
2:17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child;
2:18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them.
2:19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
See to it that you do not treat the gospel only as history, for that is only transient; neither regard it only as an example, for it is of no value without faith. Rather, see to it that you make this birth your own and that Christ be born in you.…Of what benefit would it be to me if Christ had been born a thousand times, and it would daily be sung into my ears in a most lovely manner, if I were never to hear that he was born for me and was to be my very own?
Source: Watch for the Light
The intensity and strain that many of us bring to Christmas must suggest to some onlookers that, on the whole, Christians do not seem to have gotten the point of it. Probably few of us have the faith or the nerve to tamper with hallowed Christmas traditions on a large scale, or with our other holiday celebrations. But a small experiment might prove interesting. What if, instead of doing something, we were to be something special? Be a womb. Be a dwelling for God. Be surprised.
Again and again, what it amounts to is a clash between two opposing goals: One goal is to seek the person of high position, the great person, the spiritual person, the clever person, the fine person, the person who because of his natural talents represents a high peak, as it were, in the mountain range of humanity. The other goal is to seek the lowly people, the minorities, the disabled, the prisoners: the valleys of the lowly between the heights of the great. They are the degraded, the enslaved, the exploited, the weak and poor, the poorest of the poor.
The first goal aims to exalt the individual, by virtue of his natural gifts, to a state approaching the divine. In the end he is made a god. The other goal seeks the wonder and mystery of God becoming man, God seeking the lowest place among men.
Two completely opposite directions. One is the self-glorifying upward thrust. The other is the downward movement to become human. One is the way of self-love and self-exaltation. The other is the way of God’s love and love of one’s neighbor.
Source: When the Time Was Fulfilled
Christians believe that so great is God’s love and concern for humanity that God became human. We do well to remember that God’s insertion into human history was achieved with an almost frightening quietness and humility. There was no…special privilege; in fact the entry of God into God’s own world was almost heartbreakingly humble. In sober fact there is little romance or beauty in the thought of a young woman looking desperately for a place where she could give birth to her first baby.
Days pass when I forget the mystery.
Problems insoluble and problems offering
their own ignored solutions
jostle for my attention, they crowd its antechamber
along with a host of diversions, my courtiers, wearing
their colored clothes; cap and bells.
once more the quiet mystery
is present to me, the throng’s clamor
recedes: the mystery
that there is anything, anything at all,
let alone cosmos, joy, memory, everything,
rather than void: and that, O Lord,
Creator, Hallowed One, You still,
hour by hour sustain it.
Source: The Sands of the Well