Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Musings

"Silent night, holy night..."
"Away in a manger, no crib for a bed."
"Joy to the world, the Lord is come..."
It's Christmas afternoon, the presents are unwrapped, and I'm sitting here thinking. Christmas isn't just about the presents. Even the best ones get broken...or lost...or just plain aren't interesting anymore.
And the nativity scene in the corner--Mary and Jospeh kneeling by a manger, shephards and wise men circling in reverent worship--that's not how it was at all. It was a stable. It probably stank. There likely was manure and droppings in the corners. Th shephards probably were rough, burely men. If I was Mary, I would have cried at the idea of giving birth in a stable.
And even if everyone had been clean and neat, it wasn't a night of peace. No, this was a D-Day of supernatural proportions. God, the Creator and Lord of the universe, sent himself down to Earth--into the heart of the enemy's lair--as a helpless infant. It's not the quiet, silent night we sing about.
The angels sang of peace and goodwill towards men, but we tend to forget about the end of the story. Because it didn't end there. It went on--on to the cross. And without the cross, there would be no point in Christmas.
In the song "Did you know?" by Todd Agnew, the chorus goes like this:
Did you know?
Did the cross cast a shadow o'er your cradle?
Did you know?
Did you shudder each time Your hammer struck a nail?
Did you know?
How much heaven and how much earth
were present in this baby at His birth?
Did you know? Or did you wonder?

It's something we'd all do well to remember.