Cold today, but warmth is coming…
With Christmas just two weeks away, in the middle of Advent, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the shopping season. We’ve heard the stories, the ones that make us shake our heads, about shoppers armed with pepper spray and tasers, confrontations in the toy department, and competition for parking spaces at the mall. Bing Crosby croons from the radio, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas”—but is it?
Well … maybe it is.
Let’s remember what the first Christmas looked like: Jews were moving all around Judea, returning to the towns of their fathers and grandfathers, in order to be counted in a Roman-mandated census. Roads were crowded, towns were crowded, streets were crowded, and private homes were crowded. It’s likely tempers were short as people dealt with one another and with impatient Roman solders and clerks.
In the midst of this, we find a Galilean carpenter and his pregnant wife. They traveled around seventy miles on foot to Bethlehem (we like to think Mary was on a donkey, but there’s no evidence of this), a trip that probably took a week given her condition. They were relying on the kindness of strangers, but so was everybody else—and it’s only human that kindness wears thin under these circumstances.
Maybe the anxiety imposed on us by today’s Christmas season, driven by commercialism, isn’t too far off from the discomfort and impatience that afflicted the first Christmas season.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not justifying the nuttiness that emerges every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. There are major differences between what happened that first Christmas and in our own Christmas seasons.
Back then, they were waiting and hoping for the Savior.
Today, we have the Savior.
As Christians, we should act like we have the Savior. That way, perhaps, we can help others to feel the peace that His coming was intended to bring.