I read the Christmas story again today. Can you even imagine being any ONE of those characters in the story?!
First of all, Zechariah, aging priest, no children, doing his job in the temple alone. Oh wait. Not alone. Who is that? Who are you! What? I’m going to be a father? At my age–and my poor wife?! Right! Oh what happened to my voice. I believe you now!!
Or Mary, a young girl anticipating marriage. I’m what? Favored? I’m just an ordinary girl! A baby? Me? How in the world will I …? Yes Lord. I am your servant.
Or the shepherds, drifting off to sleep in the bracing cool night air, thousands of stars above. Wait! Those aren’t stars…they’re…ANGELS? Singing? That sound! So big! Where did they come from?! A savior you say–here? Come as a baby in a manger? Peace on earth? We’ve got to see that!
Or Simeon in the temple, looking everyday for the One he had been promised to see before he died. How long had he been waiting?! He tried not to count. And now here he was, a brand new baby boy. This is the one!
Or Anna, who had lost a husband of only 7 years, and devoted the remainder of her life to prayer day and night. After all these years—Yes, Lord. I’m listening! This is Messiah?! You’ve let me see him?!
Or Herod, threatened by the birth of a possible usurper, all of 7 lbs most likely. A new king of the Jews? Nonsense! Kill all the baby boys you can find. He’ll never be a threat to me!
Or one of the wise men, following the signs in the heavens. We know there’s something special happening! I’ve given up everything on this journey to find it. A child—destined to be the promised Savior! What gift is too great to give such a One as this!
Where do you find yourself? In faith? In doubt? In wonder? In rebellion? In worship?
Each participant brought their own set of challenges to the story. Each one was a tool in the hand of God. If you feel the cold grip of rebellion, or the dry swallow of doubt, read again the mystery of his coming in the gospel of Luke.
Speak doubt into faith with Zechariah, surrender your plans as did Mary, experience the wonder of the shepherds, practice the patient courage of Anna and Simeon, reject the murderous envy of Herod, and kneel to worship with the wise men.
He is born.
Good news for us all.
Peace on earth.