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Archive for Saturday, December 15, 2007

Faith forum: What is your favorite detail of the Christmas story?

December 15, 2007

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Steadfast faith and love born in a stable

Judy Bauer, member, Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vt.:

When I was very young, I rode horses at Mr. Mott's stable near Blue Mound south of Lawrence. A little later, when my family owned horses, I spent a good deal of time in another stable by Lakeview Club. These stables sheltered horses, cows, chickens and many other animals, and there I witnessed birth, life and death.

My chores in the stable marked the time of day and connected me to natural rhythms required to care for living things. The earthy fragrance of alfalfa hay, oiled leather, sweat-soaked saddle blankets, manure and dust permeated the space and my clothes.

So it should come as no surprise that, for me, Christ's birth in a stable symbolizes simplicity and shelter. It reconnects me to the rhythms I knew as a child and to who I am now. Every year the Christmas nativity reminds me that Christ offers love, an emotional home and a spiritual watering hole which I can visit anywhere, anytime. I need a spiritual refill regularly because when I switch on the news, I often see a conflicted world, sweat-soaked, dusty, full of anxieties, offenses, issues. And then there is my own humanness, the times when I am greedy, thoughtless, careless.

When used as an adjective, the word stable means steadfast and I think that word describes Christ. He offers a template through which I may interpret events and difficulties. He is available night and day, year round. My ideas about Christmas and Christ grow and change all the time. They are private and dynamic. Yet always, the comfort of the stable remains.

God's gift, humility in which it was given

Dwayne Dunn, member, Lawrence Heights Christian Church, 2321 Peterson Road:

The plain language of Luke 2:7 states "And she (Mary) gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped him in cloths, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

The extraordinary thing about this rather basic statement is that it refers to the most important event in history, where God sent his only son to live with men on earth, die as a sacrifice for their sins, and rise to reclaim his place as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. That God would choose Mary and Joseph and a lowly stable of animals for this amazing happening is both shocking and humbling.

As a musician, I have had the great joy of singing, playing and hearing the wonderful songs of Christmas my whole life. I enjoy the great hymns, ancient carols, simple folk-songs and intricate choral compositions that men have written, all serving as but a pale imitation of the praise declared by a multitude of the heavenly host: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men of goodwill."

One of the texts I enjoy the most is the Latin "O Magnum Mysterium," which speaks of the great mystery that animals (not people) were there to witness the birth of Christ. The King of Glory was born in a barn for an audience of animals!

If God can lower himself to such a humble state for his arrival on earth, can there ever be a time when we should need to seek the passing attention and glory of other men? For "whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted." (Matthew 23:12)

Comments

marcdeveraux 7 years ago

christians need to stop thinking of jews as mean people.i am not a jew, anyone who has ever been around the jewish people would certainly know this. any woman needing a place to give birth would be made welcome in anyones home. children are so central to the jews that anyone would gladly give up their bed to a mother in need, these fables are written by white men too glorify the christian religion and put the jewish peoples in a bad light.as in" the jews killed jesus".This nonsense was to make christianity look good.nothing more.meet some jewish people and you will agree. these new testament stories were written in england hundreds of years after the fact.

storm 7 years ago

My favorite part of the Christmas Story is when Ralphie's little brother Randy put his snow suit on, and then cried out, " I can't put my arms down!" cause he was so bundled up. Of course, the kid with his tongue on the pole was funny too.

purplesage 7 years ago

Don't know where you get your history, marcdev. The evidence is good for the completion of the New Testament by the end of the first century. Athanasius of Alexandria circulated a list that included the 27 NT books accepted today, explicable by the fact tht Christianity was an illegal religion until the days of Constantine.

I think I like the willing obedience of Mary and Joseph to the will of God foreir lives which would bring with it both great privilege and a significant cost.

SettingTheRecordStraight 7 years ago

Actually, Marion, Christianity is incredibly liberating. After all, Christ's message is and is that sinful, imperfect man may have an eternal relationship with the holy creator of the universe.

marcdeveraux 7 years ago

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kneejerkreaction 7 years ago

When the kid shoots himself in the eye with the BB gun.

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