I used to read the story differently than I do now.
As a child, I read the story literally.
An angel came to Mary and told her she would have a son and he would be named Jesus and peace would be brought to the world. Her and Joseph would travel to a faraway land, and when there was no room in the keep, Mary and Joseph were offered refuge in a stable amongst the animals. Jesus was born, and shepherds alongside Kings from places beyond brought gifts to Jesus.
It’s a simple story that has inspired Christmas around the globe for centuries.
And maybe this isn’t part of your belief system, and that’s cool too. But let’s talk about it anyway as it’s part of the story that brings many of us around the tree each year.
I used to read it literally.
But I’m older now, and I see the troubles that characterize human existence.
In seeing this, I dig deeper into the meaning of things, especially historically founded narratives. The stories which inspires us. The ones which guide and divide us. The stories which shape us.
This includes the story of Jesus.
I used to read the story literally.
But now when I read it, I read about a woman who was believed when she told her “sex” story. I read about foreigners receiving refuge in a foreign land. I read of the wealthy recognizing and loving on the poor. I read of people taking care of each other.
This story has inspired centuries of holidays.
Somehow though, these values got lost somewhere in how we celebrate, regard, and approach one another all year long.
I wonder what the world would look like if the world read the story this way.
I wonder if the story of Christmas was seen in this light, if it would have the power to reshape our thinking about the global issues we all face.
Don’t get me wrong, I understand this leads into a big debate about politics and religion, economics, and philosophical foundations. And I’m here and ready for that discussion, but that’s not the point of this post.
If this story brings us together once a year, if we all agree on that, then shouldn’t the principles of the story too hold greater significance in our approach to each other on all the other days of the year?
We cannot simultaneously celebrate this story each year, and then turn our backs on its principles every other day, and claim we believe in it.
It doesn’t make sense.
Maybe I’m on to something.
Maybe I’m on to nothing.
Or maybe finding perspective on people’s issues from the birth story of Jesus is the holiday story we need to begin to tell.
Maybe this is the story of peace.
Happy season of loving on each other. Happy season of recognizing those around you. May this season last you all year long.