Christmas is, first of all, the Christmas story. Christmas is the birth of Christ. The birth of Christ is the birth of humanity’s best dream and highest hope. It is the birth of God in humanity. Take time this Christmas to read the story again.
Because there was no room at the inn, God was born in a stable. There Mary the Mother bent over the manger, watching her Baby asleep in the hay. The beasts in the stalls—were they wiser than humankind?—knelt down, says the legend, and worshipped the Lord Jesus.
Shepherds came from the fields roundabout. They left their flocks and lambs to tend the Lamb of God. Wise Men came from lands far away. They followed the brightest star that has ever shone in earth’s night. Angels sang in the skies by the stable, though only the shepherds paused to hear. They sang of peace to an earth without peace. They sang of goodwill to all people.
Is my mind not a stable? Is my heart not a manger? They, too, can hold the wonder of which the angels sang.
The Christmas story holds hope for us all. For in the story—remember!—both the shepherds and the Wise Men found their newborn Lord. The childlike shepherds came from near at hand. The Wise Men came from afar. It was after a long, hard journey that they found the Christ. Angels sang for the shepherds.
The Wise Men probably were too wise to believe in angels. But they followed a star—and it, too, led them to the Truth. When the shepherds came looking for God, they brought only their wonder, for this was all they had. When the Wise Men came looking for God, they brought their gifts.
If you are a shepherd, God asks of you only your wonder. If you are a wise man, God asks of you only your gift. God reveals Himself alike to shepherds and to Wise Men, to all who come looking for Him. If you are a wise man, you may have to come by a longer road than if you are a shepherd, but the Christmas wonder, smiling like a newborn child, lies waiting for you to find it. So if you have a wise man’s mind or if you have a shepherd’s heart, come take a look at Christmas, and be filled with the wonder of God.
This is my prayer for you this Christmas:
May there always be room in your heart for divinity to find a birthing place. May you be holy as the angels were, faithful as the shepherds were, humble as the cattle were, wise as the Wise Men were. May you have the compassion Mary had and the understanding Joseph had, and may the blessing of the Christ child be yours, not because of his birthnight long ago, but because his love is born in you today!