Monday, December 17, 2007

2007 "Cyber-Christmas Card" To You



What gift can I give to the newborn King?

What can I give?
What can I bring?
What is a gift that is fit for a King?
I'll give my life.
Not just a part.
I'll give my all to Him.


Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights . . .

James 1:17 (RSV)

What's that smell?

Jamie Kirchner
from St. Joseph E-Letter, 12-18-07 (my home parish)

A couple of years ago, your tactless editor was helping some small children set up the creche scene by one of our side altars. As we were finishing, and the children were surveying their work, I asked them if they could imagine how the Lord's birthplace smelled. The kids said it smelled "like Bethlehem". True enough. I didn't pursue it any further.

In our current sanitized lifestyle, it's hard for most people to envision realistically the actual conditions in which the Messiah was born. To say He was born in humble circumstances is an extreme understatement! People tend to imagine that Mary and Joseph, unable to find a hotel room, just went back to nature, and that Jesus was born in a cute little shack amidst twinkling lights, friendly animal characters, and the fresh aroma of pine.

But Jesus was born in a stable! Stables stink like animal urine and excrement even after they've been cleaned. There are disease-carrying insects and mice all around. Christ was lain in an open feeding trough that animals ate from and slobbered into multiple times daily (although we might assume that clean straw had been put there for Him). These were outrageous conditions for any child to be born in, let alone the Savior of humanity.

Next time you visit a livestock farm, or wander through the animal exhibits at the state fair, look around, take a whiff, and think of the astounding way that our Lord humbled himself. And you might mention it to your kids or grandkids.

Wishing you a Joyous, Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year

Dave & Judy Armstrong & Family


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