Gosh, it is Wednesday and this has been rattling around in my head since I saw the very large inflated Santa Claus at the used car dealership while I was on my way to church on Sunday. The whole meaning of Christmas is economic activity, that is how we measure the success of the holiday. No longer happy to have it as a Holy Day, just a nationally recognized legal holiday - and if it falls on the weekend one gets the closest workday off with pay. Thank you Caesar Augustus, for taxing all the World, it wouldn't have been Christmas without more government and economic activity.
Aren't we proud of the mini-skirted Santa's lasses dancing on nightclub stages in Japan and Korea, with Santa Claus and a large bag of goodies? America, you are a trend setter.
Of course I know that isn't what Christmas is about, it is about a baby born to fulfill a promise or a prophesy. And such a humble beginning, why wasn't the babe at least adopted by a royal household like Moses was? I mean if Hollywood were to write the story, wouldn't that be better than just strangers in town, babe born and stupid shepherds coming down from the hills to see. I mean you know that shepherds aren't the brightest of the Chosen people, the priests and rabbis are off at religious duties, writing and reading scrolls. They sleep inside and lock their doors against the thieves and drunken riffraff. Only shepherds would be awake at night watching sheep, only they would see an angel and heavenly hosts singing. Shepherds, they even smell like sheep. How holy is that?
Okay, go to Matthew Two, now we are talking about power and prestige, Kings and Magi, royal house and wizards of old. Yeah, and the government reaction to the news there might be competing royal lineage? Well, crush it of course, send the legions to eliminate the terrorist at the earliest identified age, all the boys under two, and if you can't tell how old they are, get those, too. Don't you know that it didn't pay to be a boy before Title IX, not in Bethlehem. King Herod was an equal opportunity killer, his family had a few choice sudden deaths, he didn't just pick on children. So we have an example of Royal conduct, and what we may expect from a King.
Then there are many Christians that want to be ruled by Christ the King, the anointed one. I do remember that Christ didn't take up a throne, actually thought about it and then told Satan to get behind him. It was the wrong focus, but he went out and was baptized by a shocked cousin John, then gathered some fine fellows to teach and set about preaching and teaching. Not very powerful at all, not royal, not IN CHARGE, no CIC linked to his name. And he loved, everyone all the time, he wept once, must have been smiling and laughing the rest of the time, his only conflict was driving the money lender out of the temple, and I am sure he wasn't really happy doing that but needed to make the bold statement. He had been at the temple before and hadn't done it many times earlier. I would bet that none of them were as marked as he would be later on his way to the cross...
God is all, powerful, knowing, loving and bigger than my life can imagine or encompass. And I am not anyone that knows God by more than a little study, some great responses to my prayers, and that Christ was humble and bowed to the will of his Father. There may be streets of Gold, Heavy Heavenly thrones and choirs of angels and saints -- or there may be joy, happiness and foot washing of the weary travelers having gone through that world of woe. Just cup of wine and a piece of bread and Thou. Amen