Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts

12/22/15

Joseph and Mary traveled fnativity_Blochrom Nazareth to Bethlehem Ephrathah (there’s more than one Bethlehem) to comply with the dictate of Caesar Augustus. They didn’t make the trip because they wanted to. Joseph, a carpenter, must have missed a fair amount of work because some poobah in Rome needed to stroke his own ego by making everyone in the empire get counted. (And you think Obama’s an ass?)

After the birth of Jesus, as near as I can understand it, Joseph took his family to Nazareth, then back to Bethlehem, and then to Egypt. They lived in exile in Egypt for a while, in fear that Herod would kill them. Even after an angel told Joseph Herod was dead, Joseph still feared for his family’s life, and didn’t return to Bethlehem, but went to Nazareth instead.

All that traveling must have taken months, and the need to accumulate the MEANS to travel would have taken years. Joseph must have had to work as an itinerant carpenter to provide for his family during the journeys. I’m not a bible scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but just a little googling reveals that the window for the time from Christ’s birth to the arrival of the Magi with their gifts is TWO YEARS.

In other words, Christ is a child in the family of a migrant worker. He was born during a time of great unrest – much of which was caused by religious conflict.

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Here’s something for you to think about. Christ wasn’t born to save the world. He was born to save YOU. He gives you the gift of redemption and love – every day, not just at Christmas. It’s a special gift, only He can give, and only you can use.

And in a way that God alone can understand, He gives this same gift to everyone. Now, we’re not talking about a pair of one-size-fits-all argyle socks here. Your gift of loving redemption fits you. Mine fits me. They’re based on our skills, our physical attributes, our mental state, and Godknowswhatall. Christian? Jewish? Muslim? Atheist? Doesn’t matter. Christ’s gift – God’s gift is given to you. Use it, or put it in your sock drawer. Your choice.

Anyway, it’s a good thing Joseph and Mary were on the ball. Cows eat what’s in mangers, and I’ve heard they’re not picky eaters.

I’ve received many fine gifts (and a few clunkers), all of which are appreciated. You probably feel the same way. But the finest gift is God’s redeeming endless love, borne to us by His Son. Because that gift is endless, we can share it. And so we should.

In this time of unrest, and uncertainty, we receive God’s gift of redemption. All we have to do is unwrap it, and figure out how to make it work. I’m pretty sure we won’t find hate or intolerance in the box.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Quote:
“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.”
           Calvin Coolidge

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