Sunday, December 04, 2011

Christmas Through the Eyes of a Bystander

So many strange occurrences in Bethlehem lately. First Herod decides to take a census but makes it difficult for everyone because He requires them to return to the city of their ancestors . Nothing like keeping his thumb of control on all of us "peasants." So there have been throngs of people flooding our sleepy little town. So many that the 'no vacancies' signs have been put in all the inn windows. Visitors had to scrounge around to find a place to lay their heads. Some even wound up sleeping in the stables with the livestock! At least they were out of the frosty dew that settled on those less fortunate.

A few nights ago I saw this spectacularly huge star in the sky. Some say it was a comet. It blazed across the dark night sky lighting up the heavens like no one has ever seen before. Then it seemed to linger on one particular place for several days, when as suddenly as it appeared, it was gone. The more superstitious of the townfolk said it was a sign from God, but what could a huge star mean?

About the same time, some shepherds from the outskirts of town rushed in with great excitement, sharing with everyone what they had experienced. Personally I think they were imbibing in too much wine, but they swear they heard the most glorious sound in the sky about same time as that star appeared. They saw ghostly images, hundreds of them. They "said" they were angels, supposedly telling them to visit a baby in a feeding trough. Now tell me, who in the world is crazy enough to believe you will find a baby in a stable, no less in an animal's feeding trough! But I guess those heavenly hosts were convincing enough because those shepherds left their flock (unheard of) and ran into town. Lo, and behold, after searching several stables they noticed that brilliant star shining down on a stable at the far end of town and when they arrived, there was a brand spanking new babe wrapped in some cloths and he was actually lying in a manger! The funny thing was that according to the angels,  this wasn't just any baby, but  this baby boy was the Messiah, the One Israel has been waiting for - the Savior - which I guess means the one who would save us from the evil rulership of King Herod and Rome. He's a mighty special baby if that is who he really is. But how strange that this would-be king was born in such a strange way and in such a strange place.

I'll be keeping my eye on this one - see how he grows up and what happens with him.  We sure could use a Savior right about now. But I'm guessin' I'll be having to wait a few years before we see any saving going on, since he's just a baby. I'm not sure what I believe, but those shepherds sure were convinced. Those angels made believers out of them for sure. I've never seen such a thing, but as they went back to their flocks, they were singing and even dancing a jig, big smiles on their faces as if something miraculous just took place. They were even praising the name of God, quite the contrary to what usually comes out of their mouths about God. Like I said, I guess I'll just have to wait and see what's gonna happen.

Hmm, I think there is a word for that - waiting to see what's to come - is it Advent?