“Did you hear the news this morning? They announced a recall on cheese. It’s not right that they are recalling cheeses just before Christmas.”
I heard this joke this week and although the chees-us / Jes-us corny line made me groan it did get me thinking: In all the Christmas busyness do we actually stop and recall Jesus? Recall as in remember, not recall as in call back.
My Christmas is stress free this year. After three years of hosting extended family Christmas at my house the baton has been passed on, so no organising and no rushing around getting things ready for twenty or so people. Even the calendar has been nice to me too with having 3 non-work days before Christmas it’s a simple, relaxed amble into Christmas Day for me, now I’ve got over the last-minute work sprint.
Busy or not it’s easy to forget what Christmas is all about or to hear the nativity story again and catch yourself mentally going through your to do list with a thoughtful expression on your face while sentimentally nodding as if you’re actually listening. Or even leave “ponder Christmas meaning” as an unchecked item on your to do list and never take time to stop and think about what it’s all about.
Down under our Christmas’ seem more busy and chaotic than in lands where Christmas is a winter event. We also run into end of school year and summer holidays which adds so many more events and complexity to the “silly season.” (For those north of the equator just imagine adding end of school year activities with Christmas activities… yep! Bizee!)
There are so many angles and ideas to mediate on from the story of Christ’s birth that when I do take the time to consider Christmas it is always different, always challenging, always heart-warming.
This morning I was challenged by a devotional written about the wise men. The writer was considering how the wise men suddenly appeared into Jesus’ story and then suddenly disappeared again. We don’t know where they came from (other than a very vague “east”). We don’t know how many there were (three gifts, not three men), we don’t know what… well, we don’t know much about them at all.
In our lives there are people who, like the wise men, suddenly appear from nowhere, impact us in a big way, and disappear out of our stories again. We also do this appearing / disappearing act to others.
It happens when a short-term mission team or exchange student visits another land. It happens when we do a random act of kindness to a stranger. It happens when we pray for an unknown person on a prayer request.
I’ve also been reflecting on how many different lives suddenly, momentarily inter-twined at this specific point in history to bring about this unique story – Mary, Joseph, Caesar Augustus, shepherds, wise men, inn keepers, Elizabeth and John, angels and Jesus – to list only those we know.
So if you haven’t taken time to recall Jesus this year, take a moment now to look up Matthew or Luke and read the story again and think about it. And, while you do maybe have some cheeses too.
If you have been inspired or moved by some part of the Christmas story this year, please share it with us in the comments below.