Thursday, December 22, 2011

Advent: Day Four

Ah, the traditional "Christmas Story." This is the passage my family reads every Christmas morning when everyone is gathered in the living room, before the opening of presents and the big cinnamon roll breakfast ("big" meaning I may or may not eat three or four huge gooey cinnamon rolls).

Okay, back to the topic at hand, the Advent Study.  Today's reading is Luke 2:1-16.

One of the questions to think about when reading these passages is whether or not the story is really like what we've always thought it was like, based on the versions we were told as children.  Last night, my sister showed me the cutest little video made by a preschool in Portland.  It's basically the children's take on the Christmas story.  It's worth watching.

One thing that the video really made me think of (and probably that I've already been thinking of, based on my last Advent post) is our perception of angels.  Forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but angels are probably not like what we think they're like.

One child in the video keeps talking about the fairy that comes in the Christmas story, and I'm sure, when I was younger, that was my assumption of what an angel was like - something along the lines of Tinkerbell in long white robes.
And there is a particularly annoying Christmas song that keeps coming on the radio this year.  I can't remember the name of it, but the chorus talks about the angels singing when they came to see the shepherds.  Then, in the background of the song, five or six preppy tenth-grade cheerleaders sing "Peace on Earth, goodwill to men" a few times.

No. No, no, no, no, no.  I'm pretty sure that's not how it was.  There was "a multitude of the heavenly host praising God."  That must have been one fantastic song.
And you know what's the greatest thing about this?
God sent those angels to lowly shepherds.  It reminds me of 1 Cor. 1:28 - "God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are," (ESV)

And, while we're at it, let's just make a note that Mary laid Jesus in a manger after He was born, because there was no room in the inn.  Talk about things that are not.
The Lord chose to have His Son enter the world in a stable.  God had just made everything work perfectly together to have Jesus born in Bethlehem (I'm pretty sure Mary would have stayed in Nazareth, given half the chance).  God certainly could have manipulated an inn-keeper enough to leave room for Mary and Joseph in a place where humans live, rather than cows and donkeys.
But He didn't.  He chose the route that didn't make sense to men.  In fact, He chose the route that looked ridiculous to men - like it could never work.
Then He advertised it to shepherds, very lowly people, if I'm not mistaken.
And you know what?

That event has changed the shape of history every day since then.
I pray that, when the Lord chooses to do something in my life in a way that doesn't make sense, I will follow Him without question, just like Joseph and Mary and the shepherds.
Whether or not I look absurd to my fellow men while following.

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