Advent 2014 – Devotion 24

This evening we read The Greatest Christmas Pageant Ever out loud. It has always been one of my favorite Christmas stories though I have not read it for years. As usual, it did not disappoint. It was still laugh out loud funny in places. The Herdmans, the family with the bad kids who steal, and hit, and smoke, and set fires, were as bad as ever. The church people were just like church people can be. And in the course of things, you see that the Christmas story has meaning for the “good” people and for the “bad” people. It changes and transforms all people.

In the Christmas story with the shepherds, angels, special pregnancy, no room at the inn, the barn and the animals, and then the version with the wise men and Herod, there are many points of access for all different kinds of people.

That is Jesus. He has a message for “bad” people, and for “good” people. His teachings and his life touch us one and all; even people who are not Christian or church oriented. With Jesus, there is something for everyone and no one is left out. So, it is not surprising that Christmas has become the most celebrated holiday in the world.

But I am wondering where Santa, the reindeer, the elves, and the stockings, hung by the chimney with care, fit in. The holiday of shopping, shopping, shopping and buying, buying, buying just doesn’t seem to go with the poor baby born in the barn and placed in the feeding trough to sleep. The Santa holiday leaves people spent and often in debt. The Christmas stories in the Bible invite us to think in new ways and to have hope in the future. You don’t need any money to receive the gifts offered by the stories of Christmas and the teachings of Jesus. It is all freely given. May we be grateful recipients.

For reflection: When you think of Jesus, do you think of him as poor? How does that impact your image of Jesus?

Prayer: We give thanks for the stories of scripture and the way they invite us to see life differently. Jesus is portrayed as a very real person engaging the pressing issues of his day. May our faith give us hope and direction for the conditions of our day. May we see how the Gospel speaks good news of great joy for all people. Amen.

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