Tuesday, 26 December 2017

For Whom For What - My Reflections on Christmas

    The guests have departed. The stomachs have been filled. The presents have been opened. My wifey and the little one asleep upstairs. I sit here alone with the soft pitter-patter of raindrops outside the balcony, and the faintest whiff of noble fir, for company. Christmas has come and is almost gone. 
    I think back to the very first Christmas, more than 2000 years ago. I imagine the wise men, the magi, reading the stars and becoming excited enough to make the arduous journey to Jerusalem and later to the backwater town of Bethlehem. The magi, I assume, were heathen gentiles. They were astrologers and very possibly practitioners of the occult. Yet they received the "invitation" to the greatest birthday party ever. If God chose to reveal Himself to these "outsiders", how much more would He be willing to reveal Himself to us, His children. If only we would ask, knock, and receive.
    It is interesting to note that besides the magi who belonged to the upper crust of society, the angels were sent to the simplest of folk as well, the shepherds. Ever noticed the contrast? Upper crust, studying the stars and seeking the king, versus simple folk, not bothered the least bit about politics? Indeed, Jesus came for all, regardless of background, and regardless of spiritual disposition.
    Pictures and story books depict the Christmas story as an event for a select few - Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the magi. This was never meant to be. When the magi entered Jerusalem (capital of the region) asking to see the newborn king, not only was King Herod troubled, all Jerusalem was troubled with him (Mat 2:3). I would imagine the magi bringing with them a large retinue of servants and camels. They were afterall important enough to be granted an audience with the ruler. Then there's the shepherds. After receiving the good news from the angel, they made haste to search out the Babe in the manger. Bethlehem had more than one inn and I suppose, many stables. It was late at night. They must've caused quite a ruckus going from stable to stable. After they've seen Jesus, they couldn't contain their excitement and told everyone about it. Those who heard the news "marvelled" at it (Luk 2:17-18). 
    The whole of Jerusalem and the whole of Bethleham (and all the towns on the way from Jerusalem to Bathlehem) received news of the birth of a baby, who was possibly the long-awaited Messiah. Yet, the Bible records only the presence of the magi (outsiders, gentiles) and the shepherds (simple folk). What happened to every one else? 
    Isn't it the same today? Christmas isn't about Santa, gifts or even love. Sacriledgous as it may sound, Jesus isn't the reason for the season. Jesus came to die for you and I. You and I are the true reason for Christmas. Just like the unrecorded masses who "heard" the glad tidings but chose not to do anything, will you and I simply let Christmas 2017 pass with little to show for except merry-making? What will you do in response to the "good news" of His birth?

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