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Today, December 22, my children, their wives and the grandchildren gathered at the Coker House for our annual Christmas celebration. Traditionally I try to have time with the grandchildren to share the true meaning of Christmas. Taking the account from the book of Matthew, the grandchildren were amazed how far Joseph and Mary traveled for the census taking in Bethlehem. They were equally amazed that even today we have a census taking. No riding for days on the back of a donkey while withstanding the uncomfortableness of being nine months pregnant only to be told by the Inn Keeper the Inn was full. No IPhone or IPad to make advanced reservations. This generation of children have never lived or thought about such an inconvenience or circumstance.
Equally amazing to this young generation was the story of the shepherds who spotted the star their grandparents had told them would appear when the Saviour was making His appearance on earth. We tried to emulate the excitement they must have had at such a grand event. Unlike the story in Luke, Matthew emphasizes the shepherds’ visit to Herod before going to see the young Jesus. This point in the story was the grand opportunity to introduce the concept of “gift” giving. ……..For God so loved the world He gave………….. The concept the gift doesn’t become a gift until it is received allowed a great opportunity for Granddaddy to share the gift of eternal life.
Certainly, very few people in Palestine saw and heard and understood what took place that night so long ago. Like today, the choirs of angels singing were drowned out by the busy streets (shopping malls). A lot of gift wrapping going on at the Christmas bazaar. If anyone did see Mary and Joseph on that most fateful night, they were too preoccupied with their own issues or problems to offer any assistance. You see, what we see and what we hear in life depends not upon the events but rather who we are as people. It’s not what is out there but what is inside of us.
Ask yourself what did you hear this Christmas? Would I have seen the ‘star in the sky?’ Would I have heard the Angels (carolers) singing? Would the rush of buying Christmas gifts have blinded me to the many issues that confronted the sheep without a shepherd. Do I need to seek a quiet place and reflect upon that night when the shepherds lead the parade with the Hallelujah Chorus.
………….busy housewives stop their labor,…..in the courtroom there is no debate….all the work on earth has ended……as the King comes through the gate………………..