By Dave Norton
Christmas is a wonderful time of the year and elicits memories for me stretching back over 65 years so writing thoughts about Christmas should be a walk in the park. Elements of those memories actually center around two primary facets of any Christmas, those being family and the Christmas story.
Family memories are in a constant state of flux. Families change, grow, some years there are new ones to love and others some to mourn but that is what makes up family memories. The Christmas story, on the other hand, is stable truth and thus provides an opportunity to once again ground your perspective on the people and miracles that made it happen.
This year, with all the preceding years to reflect on, I am blessed with a new perspective or understanding about those events that have previously been hidden. Like all scripture, God can roll back layer after layer of understanding in His time and according to my readiness. The source of this new understanding for me comes from, one, the message of the recent Christmas Ministry from our choir and drama teams and, two, from my personal study of the word and various commentaries about these passages.
First, one might think that there are just so many ways to tell the same story but this year the drama team highlighted an aspect of those events I’d previously overlooked. The scene is described in Luke 1:28 and following when the angel Gabriel greeted Mary in an unannounced fashion. The news of conceiving was a stunning revelation to Mary. Later the angel consoled and counseled Joseph as he struggled with the decision of taking Mary as his wife. Later still a host of angels directed shepherds to the manger in Bethlehem to greet the Messiah and wise men traveled nearly two years to find this child. The common thread in each of these scenes is the impact it had on these ordinary folks in their daily lives. These are people not at all unlike ourselves as we navigate the paths of our lives. The emotional impact, especially on Mary, was one of disbelief. Yet, of all the questions she could have asked, she wanted to know “how” this could be. Her ultimate response and the responses of Joseph, the shepherds and the Magi, was acceptance, submission and obedience to the will of God. These are examples of faith that can guide us today and demonstrates yet again the truth of Luke 1:37: “For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones and may the joy of the season the overriding theme of everything you do!