This Christmas I spent a lot of time thinking about Christmas from other perspectives – the shepherds, King Herod, Mary and Jospeh. I imagined what that first Christmas felt like to societal outsiders, to a king who never got it, to parents thrown into parenthood – and not just any parenthood but parenthood of the Divine. This story that I’ve come to know all too well suddenly feels fresh.
And one thought has stayed with me this season: I’ve never known a world without Jesus.
For me, Christmas comes and it’s a reminder to celebrate the birth of my Savior, my Hope. We read the Christmas story – with much less wonder than when I was a child. We sing the songs of His birth. But it all has become a “tradition” and I approach it with less awe than is owed.
But that before that first Christmas, there was no Jesus, no hope. Just the expectation for a Messiah. The outsiders were outsiders. The parents were just two people about to wed. And the king was unthreatened by a child, busy building his kingdom.
But then the angel appears and the whole world – everything that we know – changes. It is all turned on its head.
A young woman (barely more than a girl) and a young man commit to move forward with what the angel says, despite breaking mores and the ever-growing whispers of their village. They don’t know what the future hold. They know the moment they live in. That moment alone is enough to feel overwhelmed – let alone what is to come for their firstborn Son.
And the shepherds, cultural outsiders, among the last group of people who would get a divine announcement, are told first that there is a newborn king, the Messiah. With this announcement, these men are invited from the outside to share the Good News.
And a king who, prior to this moment in history, had no fear of a small child threatening his throne takes drastic action to attempt to keep his power. He had the opportunity to be a part of this amazing story but was so consumed with keeping his power that he missed the point.
Because an Infant entered our world. Hope had no name until He was born in the stable. Lines of the insiders and the outsiders were rigid until a group of shepherds became divine messangers. Kings had no understanding of their minute roles until the King of kings appeared.
I have no true understanding of this. Because Christ has always been a part of my world.
But this Christmas, I am reflecting on this story with a lot more wonder.